Edge: Fast Ferries

The Edge: Fast Ferries

The Fast Ferry Edge

overview

Market

The global ferry business carries slightly over 2 billion passengers per year – nearly the same number of passengers flying commercial airlines. Global ferry revenues for 2010 was USD $15,424,836,479. Of this, $4,318,954,214 came from “walk-ons”, the 574,580,488 passengers who use ferries to commute without bringing a vehicle on board.

The Opportunity: Speed and Flexibility

While the industry carries an equivalent number of passengers to the airlines, its revenues are a mere fraction – $15.4 billion to $598 billion. The two greatest differences between the two industries are speed and flexibility. Ferry cycles for even short distances can be measured in hours while terminal costs limit flexibility in the number of departure points. Speed kills and the time lost to commuters due to the lack of both presents a clear opportunity for safe, fast and comfortable solutions.

“Fast Ferry” (Catamarans) Competition

With speeds of 30-40mph, SPI views “high speed” catamarans as the only real competition in the ferry market. Therefore we have chosen to focus on our competitive edge over these craft.

Intracoastal Networks

Seaphantoms clearly represent such a solution in speed and comfort. But perhaps more importantly, their size and shallow draft mean that they allow for the relatively inexpensive ability to create a network of ports that would provide the desperately needed flexibility in departure points – an Intracoastal Ferry Network.

Intracoastal Ferry Networks (IFN)

Suddenly, the ferry industry would be more analogous to a high-end, high-speed bus service, providing low cost transport that would be a game-changer for commuters and could expect to see even greater growth rates than that of the boom in commuter airline service being seen i the Asia Pacific.

Emissions vs Transit Speed

Due to new International Maritime Organizations rules concerning emissions, ferries have been forced to use a higher grade fuel which has doubled their fuel costs. In response, most ferry operators have reduced their speed by half to offset this cost increase. This means that the average ferry now travels at 5.5 mph compared to the much greener Seaphantom at 120mph.

Comparable Fares

Seaphantoms operate at a cruise speed of 120 mph with round trip fares comparable to a one way fare on a 30-35 mph so-called “fast ferry”.

Capital Savings

A typical catamaran “fast ferry” costs more than $100 million new. For that same $100 million, 14 Seaphantoms could be purchased with a distributed capacity exceeding that of an 800 passenger fast ferry.

annotated Canadian analysis

The Canadian government built 3 fast catamaran ferries at a cost of USD $348 million to service the Vancouver area. An analysis by the Auditor General of British Columbia revealed the government’s following concerns regarding fast ferry catamarans:

High fuel consumption. The four 8,375 brake horsepower (6.2 MW) engines driving their waterjets required an inordinate amount of diesel fuel. Fully loaded and traveling at top speed of 34 knots/ 63 km an hour required the engines to be used at 90% power. This was largely due to BC Ferries’ insistence on using diesel engines rather than the more efficient gas turbines that were originally planned. This may be a false claim. The MTU engines selected and used were (and remain) state of the art for high speed engines. Their fuel consumption at 90% load is approximately 206 gm/kWhr. Comparable gas turbine would be the Kawasaki GBP70 at 6639 kW and a fuel consumption of 284 gm/kWhr or about 36% higher.

Due to Seaphantoms ground effect design, SPI vessels experience only a fraction (1/800) of the drag that ships plowing through the water thus using substantially less fuel/passenger.

Due to an unusually wet and windy winter, there was a higher than normal amount of flotsam in the waters along the route, some of which was sucked into impellers for the ferries’ engines, causing breakdowns and sailing cancellations.

SPI vessels’ size, maneuverability and forward looking bio-detecting sonar systems minimize the risk of collision with such flotsam as well as marine mammals.

When operated at full speed, the Pacificat fleet created a wake which was reported to have damaged waterfront wharves and property in coastal areas near the two terminals. This required that the ferries reduce speed in certain areas and alter course in others, reducing their speed advantage.

SPI’s smaller vessels and unique ground effect design can be modified to substantially reduce their already minimal wave impact on shorelines.

Loading took longer than the older ferries due to balancing issues. This further negated the ships’ speed advantage.

Such loading issues don’t exist with SPI vessels since we don’t carry vehicles. SPI vessels are designed to provide a high speed, flexible and inexpensive transportation mode for commuters and travelers who want to get to their destinations safely, quickly and comfortably. It should be noted, that SPI vessels can also serve the scenic tourist market by merely traveling slower, thus providing a greener and faster loading alternative to all other modes of transportation.

impact: imo emission rules

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) implemented a requirement in 2010 cutting carbon emissions from vessels entering signatory ports. The stricter rules meant that ferries using low sulfur fuels had to change to diesel, thus doubling their fuel costs.

The graphs on the right illustrate the operators’ response, with most choosing to halve their transit speeds to half rather than absorb the cost or raise fares. Typically this meant reducing their transit speed from an average 11 mph to 5.5 mph. For commuters this typically meant a minimum one hour of additional lost time while giving SPI an even greater edge with its high speed capabilities.

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Vessel Comparison
Vessel Comparison

Intracoastal Ferry Networks (IFN)

Port #
ID #
Location
State
East Coast
001E-001EastportME
002E-002CutlerME
003E-003MachiasME
004E-004JonesboroME
005E-005JonesportME
006E-006HarringtonME
007E-007MilbridgeME
008E-008Corea HarborME
009E-009Winter HarborME
010E-010Bar HarborME
011E-011BangorME
012E-012ThomastonME
013E-013South BristolME
014E-014NewcastleME
015E-015RocklandME
016E-016PortlandME
017E-017PortsmouthNH
018E-018HamptonNH
019E-019NewburyportMA
020E-020GloucesterMA
021E-021ManchesterMA
022E-022SalemMA
023E-023LynnMA
024E-024BostonMA
025E-025ProvincetownMA
026E-026FalmouthMA
027E-027New BedfordMA
028E-028Fall RiverMA
029E-029ProvidenceRI
030E-030Quonset PointRI
031E-031NewportRI
032E-032ClintonCT
033E-033New LondonCT
034E-034New HavenCT
035E-035BridgeportCT
036E-036StamfordCT
037E-037MontaukNY
038E-038New RochelleNY
039E-039Stony PointNY
040E-040YonkersNY
041E-041Port of New YorkNY
042E-042Port of TacomaNY
043E-043StapletonNY
044E-044Port ElizabethNJ
045E-045BayonneNJ
046E-046Perth AmboyNJ
047E-047Barnegat BayNJ
048E-048Cape MayNJ
049E-049SalemNJ
050E-050Port NorrisNJ
051E-051CamdenNJ
052E-052RiversideNJ
053E-053BurlingtonNJ
054E-054BristolPA
055E-055TullytownPA
056E-056PhiladelphiaPA
057E-057ChesterPA
058E-058New CastleDE
059E-059WilmingtonDE
060E-060BaltimoreMD
061E-061AnnapolisMD
062E-062Havre de GraceMD
063E-063RichmondVA
064E-064HopewellVA
065E-065Newport NewsVA
066E-066PortsmouthVA
067E-067NorfolkVA
068E-068Virginia BeachVA
069E-069Elizabeth CityNC
070E-070GreenvilleNC
071E-071New BernNC
072E-072BeaufortNC
073E-073Morehead CityNC
074E-074SwansboroNC
075E-075JacksonvilleNC
076E-076WilmingtonNC
077E-077Myrtle BeachSC
078E-078GeorgetownSC
079E-079CharlestonSC
080E-080BeaufortSC
081E-081SavannahGA
082E-082BrunswickGA
083E-083Fernandina BeachFL
084E-084JacksonvilleFL
085E-085LakesideFL
086E-086Green CoveFL
087E-087St AugustineFL
088E-088Daytona BeachFL
089E-089Port CanaveralFL
090E-090Palm BayFL
091E-091Vero BeachFL
092E-092Fort PierceFL
093E-093Jensen BeachFL
094E-094JupiterFL
095E-095StuartFL
096E-096Port SalernoFL
097E-097JupiterFL
098E-098Palm BeachFL
099E-099LantanaFL
100E-100Gulf StreamFL
101E-101Boca RatonFL
102E-102Fort LauderdaleFL
103E-103AventuraFL
104E-104Port EvergladesFL
105E-105MiamiFL
106E-106Coral GablesFL
107E-107Key LargoFL
Gulf Coast
108G-001Fort MyersFL
109G-002Port CharlotteFL
110G-003BradentonFL
111G-004St. PetersburgFL
112G-005TampaFL
113G-006ClearwaterFL
114G-007HudsonFL
115G-008Crystal RiverFL
116G-009Cedar KeyFL
117G-010SuwaneeFL
118G-011Horseshoe BeachFL
119G-012SteinhatcheeFL
120G-013St MarksFL
121G-014CarabelleFL
122G-015EastpointFL
123G-016ApalachicolaFL
124G-017Port St JoeFL
125G-018Panama CityFL
126G-019ValparaisoFL
127G-020PensacolaFL
128G-021Gulf ShoresAL
129G-022MobileAL
130G-023PascagoulaMS
131G-024BiloxiMS
132G-025GulfportMS
133G-026SlidellMS
134G-027New OrleansLA
135G-028Morgan CityLA
136G-029Lake CharlesLA
137G-030Port ArthurTX
138G-031BeaumontTX
139G-032HoustonTX
140G-033GalvestonTX
141G-034FreeportTX
142G-035Port LavacaTX
143G-036Corpus ChristiTX
144G-037BrownsvilleTX
West Coast
145W-001BellinghamWA
146W-002EverettWA
147W-003BremertonWA
148W-004SeattleWA
149W-005TacomaWA
150W-006OlympiaWA
151W-007Grays HarborWA
152W-008KalamaWA
153W-009LongviewWA
154W-010VancouverWA
155W-011PortlandOR
156W-012AstoriaOR
157W-013NewportOR
158W-014Coos BayOR
159W-015Port OrfordOR
160W-016Gold BeachOR
161W-017BrookingsOR
162W-018Crescent CityCA
163W-019Humboldt BayCA
164W-020SacramentoCA
165W-021StocktonCA
166W-022MendocinoCA
167W-023PittsburgCA
168W-024AntiochCA
169W-025Rio VistaCA
170W-026Bodega BayCA
171W-027VallejoCA
172W-028San RafaelCA
173W-029SausalitoCA
174W-030Foster CityCA
175W-031AlamedaCA
176W-032HaywardCA
177W-033RichmondCA
178W-034OaklandCA
179W-035San FranciscoCA
180W-036South San FranciscoCA
181W-037San JoseCA
182W-038PacificaCA
183W-039Half Moon BayCA
184W-040MontereyCA
185W-041Santa CruzCA
186W-042Morro BayCA
187W-043Pismo BeachCA
188W-044Santa BarbaraCA
189W-045Port HuenemeCA
190W-046Los AngelesCA
191W-047Long BeachCA
192W-048Newport BeachCA
193W-049Dana PointCA
194W-050San ClementaCA
195W-051EncinitasCA
196W-052OceansideCA
197W-053La JollaCA
198W-054San DiegoCA
Vessel Comparison

Destination Comparison

Time Comparison

Departure Comparsion

Fare Comparison

Pax Comparison