The MTC North Sea Region Policy Paper was presented by Edinburgh Napier University’s Professor Alfred Baird to the Interferry Conference in Dubai, between 21-24 October. This was Interferry’s 37th annual conference. Interferry members include most of the world’s ferry operators, most of which are based in Europe, as well as a multitude of suppliers such as shipbuilders, ports, transport authorities, and engine and equipment suppliers. Many of these organisations were also involved as one of the events 50 industry sponsors, also displaying their goods and services at the linked trade show.

Topics addressed at the conference included facing future industry challenges, use of alternative fuels, maritime communications, information technology, ship design innovation, and new opportunities in developing countries. The MTC policy paper was presented in a session on ‘Business Development and Future Trends’, alongside another paper by engine supplier Wartsila concerning industry scenarios to 2030.

The MTC policy paper was well received by conference delegates. After the presentation a range of questions were taken covering a number of issues including the EU Motorways of the Sea policy, which is a big issue for ferry operators, as well as the policy implications of the new SECA regulations, public funding for seaports, in addition to issues to do with self-handling in ports, and need for improved integration and faster documentation. Delegates were impressed by the thorough methodology employed by the MTC project partners in delivering a concise and highly relevant policy paper which clearly sets out key issues of high relevance to the maritime industry and to policymakers.