skip to Main Content
ferry, ocean, marine transportation

Ferry industry’s challenge to comply with EEXI and CII.

Ferry industry’s challenge to comply with EEXI and CII.

In February’s BLOG, we discussed how owners and operators in the Marine Industry are racing to meet the United Nation’s net-zero emissions goal set for 2050. We took a further look at how the cruise sector is getting ready to comply with annual reporting and certification requirements coming into enforcement on 1 January 2023. Most importantly we touched on why antifouling and anticorrosion products play a supporting role in the ‘Challenge to Decarbonize’ for the maritime sector.  Equally important, this month we turn to the Ferry Industry’s challenge to comply with EEXI and CII.

The IMO set the stage for decarbonizing in 2018 when it introduced the Greenhouse Gas Strategy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and 70% carbon intensity reduction by 2050. In June 2021, the IMO adopted the EEXI (Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index) and CII (Carbon Intensity Indicator) as two new mandatory measures to benchmark its 2030 target to reduce emissions between 2023 and 2030 by 40% from 2008 levels.[i] The EEXI is a technical index, using a technical formula to estimate a vessel’s design (how the vessel is equipped and retrofitted) for efficiency in reducing its carbon emissions. The CII is an operational index of the same vessel’s in-service (real world) efficiency in moving cargo (or passengers), measuring the actual fuel consumption (and, therefore, corresponding emissions) for distance traveled.

Ferries are a small slice of the maritime sector. So, ferries may seem like a “drop in the ocean” (pun intended) regarding the global picture on decarbonization. However, the global ferry industry can boast that it is similar in size to the commercial airline industry (Interferry 2021 report), transporting approximately 2.1 billion passengers per year, plus 250 million vehicles and 32 million trailers.

No surprise at the 2021 Annual Interferry Conference

It is no surprise that the Ferry Industry’s challenge to comply with EEXI and CII is a hot topic. Last year’s Annual Interferry Conference was held in Santander, Spain; CEOs and senior management from across Europe and the Americas discussed the imperative and practical needs to move the industry forward in meeting this challenge. Two of the world’s largest ferry companies (and long-standing customers of ours), Washington State Ferries and BC Ferries, were no exception in expressing their willingness to move forward credibly with an action plan for decarbonizing, noting that being willing isn’t immune to feeling pressure of expectation. As Mark Collins, CEO of BC Ferries was quoted to say: ‘We see reducing emissions like safety—it is expected.”

Towards zero emissions—view from the “ferry” top

A panel discussion at the Interferry 2021 conference focused on the industry’s plans to reduce emissions over the next ten years. The industry’s commitment to decarbonizing was clear. Niclas Mårtensson, of Sweden’s Stena Line Group, one of the world’s largest ferry operators, said: “Zero is a must – it’s a survival tool.  . . . We have to protect Mother Earth.” Patty Rubstello, of Washington State Ferries, echoed these sentiments: “I’m struck by the industry’s single-minded attitude towards reducing emissions. We’re not trying to avoid it, and we’re looking for solutions.”

At the same time, the panel addressed and shared the challenges, frustrations, and practical needs that have come along with moving towards an eco-friendlier model for the ferry industry. For example, Niclas Mårtensson said that while the industry recognizes “there is no silver bullet” to decarbonizing ferries—”We are talking about different alternatives including hydrogen, methanol, and batteries”—it also doesn’t “yet see that the public is willing to pay for this, but we can’t wait for their willingness.”

Cost and investment are not the only Ferry Industry’s challenge to comply with EEXI and CII. A big frustration is a practical need for shoreside infrastructure to support operator initiatives. There must be a joint effort with ports and the general infrastructure to supply green fuel or to make hybridization and full electrification of ferries possible. As John Napton, CEO of Condor Ferries, UK, pointed out, ferry owners and operators “depend on ports, and they have to be involved. The key message from this conference is that to reduce emissions, our port partners need to come on board.” David Sopta, from Jadrolinija, Croatia, added: “If financing all falls on ferry companies, it’s not fair because it’s not just our problem.”

Towards zero emissions—view from closer to home

Canada’s commitment and the challenge are to decarbonize its 180 transit ferries. In British Columbia, the local ferry system, and our (EMCS) customer, BC Ferries, is committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next several years by transitioning its fleet away from fossil fuels. Illustrating this is that BC Ferries has set out to complete electrification of its Island Class vessels, which are currently hybrid-powered. It is estimated that operating all six Island Class ferries as fully electric will reduce GHG emissions by up to 18,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent)[ii] per year, which is the equivalent of 3,800 vehicles on the road per year.[iii] Choosing electrification, said Mark Collins, CEO BC Ferries, at the Interferry Conference last year, “is the way to go for Canadian operators as we are blessed with a lot of clean hydropower. Meanwhile, we see LNG as a sensible interim since British Columbia has the world’s cheapest supply—but all our LNG vessels are designed to be electric in the future.”

Antifouling + Anticorrosion play a supporting role

As the industry moves toward alternative fuels, hybrid and fully electrified vessels, and the upgrading of port and terminal infrastructure, the problem of fouling and corrosion will remain. With minimal capital investment, our MARELCO™ suite of innovative antifouling and anticorrosion solutions supports the ferry industry in its striving to reduce emissions and leading to overall cost savings. Furthermore, it will help the industry redirect money towards strategies that will lead to ferry decarbonization. This includes electrification and upgrading port and terminal infrastructure.

EMCS Ltd. is ready to partner vessel-by-vessel with the ferry industry to support its commitment to global decarbonization by using a mix of antifouling and anticorrosion strategies.

Biofouling and its impact

Hard biofouling, such as barnacle fouling, of ferries’ hulls, internal seawater systems, and niche areas has structural and operational impacts, including fuel efficiency. As we said in our February BLOG, across the maritime industry, attention given to protecting hulls from corrosion and biofouling overshadows that given to vessels’ internal seawater systems and other niche areas. We also made the point that fouling and corrosion are not mutually exclusive processes: biofouling sets up and exacerbates corrosion—known as “microbiologically influenced corrosion”—and subsequent perforation and leakage.[iv]

Although hard fouling in niche areas does not induce as much hydrodynamic drag to affect fuel consumption to the same extent that biofouling on the main hull surface area does, barnacle fouling is hugely prevalent in vessel niche areas and any added wet weight from biofouling will increase drag; with increased drag, even slowing down will burn fuel and not reduce emissions. Moreover, and perhaps most particularly, ferry thrusters are prone to dense barnacle biofouling and, thus, will affect the efficiency of thrusters during maneuvering.[v] Protecting thrusters from hard fouling and corrosion will, therefore, be a part of the fuel-consumption (and reduced operating costs and emissions) equation for ferries.

Wrapping up

The maritime sector is a “hard-to-decarbonize” sector[vi] and fuel efficiency plays a lead role in managing GHG emissions. Ferries are a small piece of the shipping sector pie, yet similar in size to the commercial airline industry. For the purpose of helping to reach the United Nation’s net-zero emissions goal set for 2050, there is no getting away from the fact that it is essential for the ferry industry to bring ports and terminals, government, and energy companies onside so that ferries can plugin.

Ferry owners and operators can’t do this alone was a theme song at Spain’s 2021 Annual Interferry Conference. In the words of Spiros Paschalis, CEO Attica Group, Greece: “We need a joint effort with port authorities and equipment manufacturers.”

P.S.  Let’s not forget about biosecurity—a second, but not secondary, environmental issue. Biofouling in internal seawater systems and niche areas is a vector for invasive aquatic species transfer. Managing ferry biofouling and corrosion is of environmental concern for local biosecurity. And a reason why we at EMCS Industries Ltd. invest in what we do.

[i] Macola, I. G. (2021, April 16). Meeting IMO 2030 decarbonization goals: Lessons from Capital Link. Ship Technology.
[ii] Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is the common unit for measuring the carbon footprint of different GHGs; it gives the amount of CO2 for which different GHGs would have the equivalent global warming impact.
[iv] Davidson, i., Cahill, P., Hinz, A., Kluza, D., Scianni, C., & Georgiades, E. (2021). A review of biofouling of ships’ internal seawater systems. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.761531
[v] Moore, R. (2022, February 14). Ferry thrusters: energy efficiency and fast response. Riviera Maritime Media.
[vi] Sæther, S. R., & Moe (2021). A green maritime shift: Lessons from the electrification of ferries in Norway. Energy Research & Social Sciences, 81, 102282.






Back To Top