Panel 1:
Mediterranean Ferry Update

The Mediterranean is a large body of water with a dense ferry network, ranging from short shuttle services to long-distance overnight crossings. There is a myriad of ferry operators with the role of state-controlled operators being largely eroded in most countries. Typical state-owned icons such as Tirrenia and SNCM have ended up in private hands.

On many "corridors", competition is fierce, but there are also competition-free lifeline services to remote islands. Italy has been at the forefront of pushing trucks from the roads to the sea and launched an "ecobonus" scheme ten years ago, an incentive that does not distort competition since the money goes directly to the transport company rather than to the ferry operator which has been the way how Brussels has subsidised modal shift attempts.

The Mediterranean has probably the best-developed Motorways of the Seas (MoS) network in Europe operated by both ro-pax and pure ro-ro tonnage. Italian operators, once again, have shown the way forward here with both domestic and international MoS that bypass saturated motorways. Overall, this is a more environmentally friendly solution with less congestion and accidents on the roads, something that costs the community a fortune.

Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Spain have vast domestic fleets. Ro-paxes on these domestic routes are not always the newest ones and although newbuildings have been introduced on domestic services in certain parts of the Med, the majority of the newer ro-pax vessels ply international routes.

As 2020 draws near, operators in the Med have to prepare themselves for the mandatory 0.5% sulphur cap. For the larger and newer ships, scrubber technology may be the answer as LNG bunkering facilities are almost non-existent although LNG-powered ro-pax tonnage is under construction for a Spanish operator.

The executives on the panel operate both domestic and international ferry services and are hence well-placed to discuss about all the challenges and opportunities in this part of the world.



Keynote Speaker:
David Rowan • The Changing Digital World

David Rowan, is Editor-at-large and founding Editor-in-Chief of WIRED's UK edition. While new to the ferry industry, his talk will be remembered long after the conference is over. Rowan is a futurist and spends much of his time traveling the globe and talking with inventors, entrepreneurs and scholars in the technology space – people like the founders of LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, WhatsApp and more. He talks with them about what the next big thing is that will materially affect the way we live and work. Rowan will apply his knowledge and perspective to the ferry industry, which will help prepare delegates for a future they may not have yet contemplated.


Panel 2:
Planes, Trains, Automobiles and... Ferries

Transportation providers are waking up to the fact they can play an important part in the movement of people from origin to destination by several modes of transport, which has been greatly facilitated by digitalisation.

Developments in the seamless exchange of information, known as interoperability, is facilitating the connection of more than one travel mode for customers to search, plan and book their journeys in ways that were thought impossible not so long ago.

Travel modes such as air and rail have woken up to the fact it is now very possible to offer intermodal solutions. They are embracing the opportunities offered by connecting real-time data from transportation operators, global distribution systems (GDS) and online service providers through a larger choice of distribution channels and to new markets.

Driven by political and environmental factors and combined with the need to grow sales, the ferry sector could strengthen its offer and be an integral part of the transportation network, alongside other modes of shipping, rail and air transport.

With the rise of connectivity and big data, transportation organisations need to be ready for the impact of future technologies that improve the efficiency of intermodal transport. Those organisations that are able to embrace digitalisation will stand the best chances of weathering the coming storms in this arena.

Our panelists from inside and outside the ferry market will share their insight and views on how transportation sectors are tackling this opportunity and what developments could be on the horizon.


Panel 3:
Cooking with Social Media

Sitting alongside traditional media channels such as TV, Radio and Newspapers, social media enables you to directly target different demographics and customer segments. It's a great tool for organisations to interact with customers on their journey and understand what customers think of their experience.

Think of social media as providing new and exciting ingredients to your communications recipe book. It enables your company to directly serve your customers tastes and needs - you could say you're cooking with social!

So, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like have now become part of our everyday life and organisations who embrace it have a vast choice of communication channels and creative ways open to them. But should you embrace it or ignore it?

There are lots of myths and legends about social media. Firstly, Facebook, Twitter and that sort of thing are for kids – they are not. Secondly, it's risky and people will see everything you do – you do have some measures of control. And thirdly, it's difficult and technical – but it's not.

Whether you are embracing social media or decide to hide from it, you can be sure your customers and potential customers of all age groups are using social media to share their own personal experiences and are interacting with your brand. And there are certainly plenty of examples of how this instant 'Social Networking' is being used to spread good, bad or amusing news. So, whether we like it or not, social media is something we all need to take note of and it does provide endless opportunities to reach and interact with our customers. Social media can be fun, as well as useful to your customers and your business.

Don't worry - this is not a technical session. Our panelists will be sharing their own experiences inside and outside the industry and how social media can add value to your customers' experience.


Panel 4:
Mobile Communications – Always On, Always Connected

Mobile phones were designed to be exactly that: a mobile telephone, making it simple for people to make and receive calls on the move.

But then along came the iPhone and Android. In a very short space of time, we have witnessed the power of the mobile which can do so much more. Web browsers, video cameras, travel portals, gaming systems, social media sources, navigators, calendars, alarm clocks, torches, dating, organisational systems to name a few. Just using your phone to make a call is definitely a thing of the past. We're all hooked on them and the processing power of these small devices are literally taken for granted and we expect to be connected 24/7 in our globetrotting lives.

Although travel bookings are low compared to online transactions, there is no doubt out customers are browsing mobiles to research, review, interact socially and keep up-to-date. Whether your freight customer is on their way to catch the ferry or your tourist customer is travelling on holiday, you can be almost certain they will be leaving their PC or Mac behind and will be relying on their mobile to stay connected with friends, family and businesses. On top of that, they expect international roaming, fast internet speed and WiFi that works - and if it's free in a coffee shop then why is not free on ships?

We are joined by a team of panelists who will share their views on the power of the mobile, seek the advice of satellite communications providers on what the industry can do and obtain the opinion of a leading ferry CEO, who has installed digital communications onboard their vessels with mixed results for their customers.


Digitalization and Big Data – Enhancing Your Profits with Data Mining

Marco Ryan: How improving the Customer Experience will increase your profits

In a world full of digital buzzwords and trends it can be hard to know which are relevant and which will really help to drive increased profitability.

Marco Ryan, a member of the Wartsila board and their Chief Digital Officer, will help demystify some of these terms by exploring how Customer Experience, Data and Profitability are linked and how when approached correctly, they provide significant opportunities for the Ferry Sector.

He will show how, by linking what happens in the optimisation of vessel operations, this can intrinsically impact the customer experience and vice-versa. His presentation simplifies the key building blocks of a digital first approach, identifies the options open to operators to use different types of data, technologies and design approaches to deliver very different results.

He lifts the lid on how large companies such as Wärtsilä approach this challenge, and provides practical steps, frameworks and ideas as to how you can get started in using digital to drive increased profitability.


Roberta Weisbrod: Improving the Customer Experience through Big Data

Digitalization and big data have tremendous value for the ferry industry: for safety, modal integration for seamless travel, scheduling, route planning, responsiveness to hazardous weather and other conditions, and for insurance underwriting - with additional potential public benefits for environmental protection and accident prevention.

Digital data information sources include sensors and telematics for engine diagnostics; crowd counting; smoke & fire detection; engine oil mist detection; speed and turning radii; and for design analysis. Other types of complex and massive data captured from accidents, weather, and training can be analysed using high speed computers to help improve overall operations. In addition to sensors, telematics equipment and advanced computing power, location and communication equipment such as GPS, AIS, GTFS are critical to not only improving safety but the customer experience as well.

This brief presentation will discuss how the various types of digitalized data (telematics, weather, training, location, relational databases) can improve safety and the customer experience by reducing engine outages, improving vessel operator proficiency, optimizing service offerings, seamlessly connecting to other transportation modes and responding to changing weather conditions.




Panel 5:
Demographics – One Size Does Not Fit All

People's expectations are higher than ever before and we all want memorable experiences. It is no longer a case of 'one size fits all', as many organisations are striving to target customers and prospects in clearly defined market segments with different experiences.

Traditional media such as newspapers and magazines have had to adapt their model to survive and the more successful media organisations serve specific digital content aimed at appealing to different needs. Digitalisation is making it easier than ever for organisations to target different people with relevant and desirable content.

Segmentation focused on generational preferences is becoming common, marked by different communication methods for baby boomers, millennials and the younger generations X, Y and Z.

Meanwhile the requirements of an ageing population who are affluent and will keep travelling until it's physically not possible means the facilities for the infirm and disabled are also receiving a much-needed boost, in part driven by legislation and in part driven by the need to improve facilities on board vessels and transportation.

Our panel of four will be sharing their personal and practical views on how the ferry industry need to cater for an ageing population whilst keeping an eye on our future customers who have a very different view of the world. The aspirations of the generations are different, the attitude to technology and careers is different and the world has changed from communicating by formal letter to using on line and mobile text messaging to communicate and share experiences with each other.

So how should we engage with the different demographic needs and what can the panel tell us about how different generations think and act? This session may even give you some insight in to what your children may think!


Panel 6:
CEO Customer Focus – an Audience with the CEO's

Linking to the theme of Customer Experience, the aim of 'an audience with the CEO's' is a fitting end to today's sessions. This session aims to gain insight from the people at the very top who are embracing and driving improvements by utilising internal and external agents of change.

Recognising customers do have a choice, our four CEO's will share their own organisations' desire and aspirations to improve their customers experience, outline what objectives they have, the results they've seen to date and how they continually monitor the results of their strategy focusing on the customer.

All have invested or are investing in the onboard offer by refreshing passenger areas, creating new F&B and/or retail outlets, developing new propositions and products while examining how they can improve their customer journey and at every touch point; from the time customers consider making a ferry crossing, to booking, to travelling, to check-in, to travelling and after the ferry journey has been completed.

All CEO's in our panel certainly operate different types of vessels in different markets, located in different environments and face their own challenges, but the one thing they all have in common is the belief that customer service and delivery must be continually improved. By delivering this aim, they believe it will ultimately pay dividends in increasing customer satisfaction levels, improve the professionalism, drive sales and improve the working environment for staff.

They all recognise everyone in the stakeholder chain needs to be engaged and be involved in the process from the outset to ensure the results are there for all to see.






Keynote Speaker:
John Wright • Why Safety is Good for Employee Engagement and the Bottom Line

In 2009 McLeod proved in his report to the British government that workforce engagement pays. What wasn't so clear was the 'how to do' part. The title of John's presentation signposts the answer to that question and in short, reductions in injuries, time loss events and staff turnover, allied to a safer working environment, all brought about through REAL workforce involvement and empowerment, contribute to greater profits and a more integrated workplace.

The objective is to empower and trust the workforce, with the help and support of supervisors through to the Board of Directors, to simplify, improve and make things far more efficient. This works because simple equals safer, with workforce ownership holding the key.

The other equally important key to success is excellent and, above all, brave leadership. Human Performance training, delivering excellent team leadership skills, is an essential part of ensuring that all managers and supervisors have the human factors skills to efficiently harness the 'horsepower' contained within your workforce. Much has been written on leadership and the following quote says it all if these ideas are to deliver for YOUR business:

"Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience. Once implemented they can be easily overturned or subverted through apathy or lack of follow-up...a continuous effort is required." Hyman G. Rickover


Keynote Speaker:
Markku Mylly • European Marine Safety Agency (EMSA) Update

Markku Mylly is Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). He is responsible for overseeing the organization that arguably has one of the greatest impacts on current and future safety regulations and standards in the world. Mylly will speak about what's new in vessel safety, what's coming next, as well as provide a status update on current EMSA initiatives. With safety being one of Interferry's top priorities, having such a qualified speaker on the subject will be a real draw for delegates.


Panel 7:
Ship Propulsion – Energy and Technology

In commercial shipping, we have since long moved on from sails and coal power to fossil fuels, but there's good reason to believe that we are right now witnessing the early steps into another transition. While serving us very cost efficiently over the years, the draw backs from conventional fuels are becoming so significant that policy makers all over the world are forcing their replacement.

As a ship owner, operator, designer, supplier this means both challenges and opportunities. The presenters for this session will address the various options that are available today and what may be available tomorrow. We will learn about OPEX and CAPEX and how to fund the transition, but also some of the more intricate technical challenges for how to best harness the new sources of energy.

Real life examples will be mixed with theoretical designs and concepts.


Keynote Speaker:
Brent Perry • Renewable Energy – A Game Changer

Brent Perry is a world leader in development and implementation of alternative, environmentally friendly fuel sources for the shipping Industry, and specifically the ferry industry. He started Corvus Energy in Vancouver in the late 2000's, turning it into one of the most successful companies of its kind in the industry. He left Corvus to start up PBES, a company with offices in Norway and Vancouver. Perry is a visionary regarding how ferries in the future might get their energy sources, and will share what he knows with conference delegates. With the recent recommitment by the majority of countries around the globe to the Paris Accord, Perry's comments couldn't be timelier.


Panel 8:

Within the automotive industry, we have now for a long time seen electrification and hybridization of cars develop and one major manufacturer just revealed that all their models will be fitted with an electric motor as from 2019. This on-going transition has been quite long in the making, but seems to be ramping up quickly. So, what is going on in the ferry industry?

Since decades, ferries have pioneered shore connections, which enables them to shut down all diesel engines while in port. Arguably, this has primarily been prompted by noise concerns, but increasingly also by air quality requirements. The CO2 aspects of shore connections are not entirely straight forward, as they will depend on how the electricity is generated.

Notwithstanding, thanks to rapidly increased cost efficiency in batteries and advantages of reducing the carbon foot-print, we now see a very dramatic take-off for electrification of ferries; both hybrids and all electric.
Our panellists will address this both from a systems perspective and the roles and challenges for owners/operators and technology providers.


Fast Ferries – What's New?

In 2003, that's only 14 years ago and a lot less that the expected life of any ship, there were 20 shipyards promoting high speed vehicle carrying vessels. Today there is essentially only two. Where did it all go wrong?

Were any fast vehicle carriers successful? Did they make any money for the shipowners? Did they make economic sense? What were the main problems? Which designs have proved the test of time?

Where are we today? Are the problems resolved? What can technology offer us today and how does it compare with the past? Can fast vehicle ferries now make economic sense? How do the latest vessels compare with the earlier designs? And the future? What will we see as we approach 2020 and beyond?

Our panellists may be working for competing companies, but they work towards a common goal, to make the case for the fast ferry option.


Big Data

The ability to collect a great amount of reliable data on board ships is not anymore something dedicated to few rich pioneers and technology enthusiastic, but is something everybody can afford and easily achieve choosing one of the numerous permanent monitoring systems on the market. This is the way "Ship Big Data" are created in the maritime sector.

In many other fields, i.e. the medical field, data scientists works together with doctors since many years to reach valuable conclusions, applying machine learning algorithms to big data under the guidance of an expert of the specific field of investigation.

InfoSHIP EGO, the fleet performance software suite developed by RINA Services, is the playground where the different competences of software development, big data analysis, naval architecture, seagoing experience and regulation compliance meet to create value for the end user.

InfoSHIP EGO 3.0 comes with a plug and play hardware kit for an even more smooth installation on board, ISO 19030 data validation and is capable to run any external script related to data analysis (i.e. using R or Python). The Analytics and Reporting module is totally re-written offering both easy and guided analysis like dry dock intervention or hull degradation and custom and complex analysis being the perfect candidate tool for both small companies with limited personnel and large companies very advanced in specific technical and commercial fleet performance analysis.

InfoSHIP EGO now offers also the capability to acquire Company Noon Reports: this low cost option can be a starting point for shipping companies in order to pay the MRV data collection requirements, make some basic analysis and become familiar with the software. But can also be the first step towards big data, upgrading to automatic data acquisition on the ships that are more new and already well equipped in terms of sensors.

The data from inhomogeneous data sources are anyhow merged in a database and filtered, processed and analyzed by the Analytics and Reporting module independently if these are generated with a Noon Report or by InfoSHIP®EGO Data Collector module. Creating ship consumption models through machine learning algorithms, comparing one ship with other sister vessels, comparing the performance of one ship over different periods of time (i.e. before and after dry dock), filtering the data, setting and analyzing specific KPIs or dumping requested data in standard templates for periodic reporting are some of the features of this flexible software tool.



Cyber-attacks are not only migrating from standard office IT to industrial control systems, but also towards a less conventional space until recently: The Maritime industry. Attackers are now targeting vessel operators, charterers as well as crew of all levels. By infiltrating themselves through various vulnerabilities embedded in the software dependant systems and low staff awareness, cyber attackers are gaining ground. Disruptions not only can lead to significant financial and logistical impacts but also loss of life, property and the environment. Imagine a tanker going dark during critical operations with little time to react and pay ransom to restore control, or a passenger vessel being boarded by attackers with a plan. The Maritime industry has faced conventional piracy for centuries, but how is this industry prepared to face the threat of the 21st century: Cyber piracy.

Governmental, international agencies and Class societies are currently acting in cohesion to identify the threats and guide the industry towards effective countermeasures.

Patrick Rossi, DNV GL Cyber Security Service Manager for DNV GL Maritime will present: 

  • What are the latest trends
  • Which experience do we have after working on this issue with the industry?
  • Challenges of managing cyber risks
  • What are effective measures?
  • What to do on existing ships?
  • How to address cyber risks during newbuilding?
  • Examples of not too expensive measures

This presentation will inform maritime and seafarer management and personnel on the practice of cyber security risk management and measures to regain control of operations in the event of an attack.