BC Ferries harnesses technology to meet customer demands
Fleet of the Future – BC Ferries in 2050
It is one of the largest ferry operators in North America, travelling through some of the most pristine wilderness in Canada. BC Ferries has become an essential transportation link for British Columbia, transporting thousands of passengers on a daily basis aboard one of their 34 vessels.
Like the cars, planes and trains before them, the BC Ferries fleet has gone through some major innovations and upgrades over the past number of decades. The three Coastal Class ferries introduced in 2008 are recognized as the largest double-ended ferries in the world. In January 2016, the Baynes Sound Connector entered service to become the first cable ferry in the BC Ferries fleet. The transition to cleaner and more efficient natural gas continues with upgrades to existing vessels and integration on new vessels entering the fleet as well as work to upgrade vessels to include electric battery technology.
As technology continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, companies like BC Ferries need to continue to adapt to keep up with the ever changing landscape. Fleets of the future need to balance the evolution of ship engineering with the demands of the customer.
At the forefront of looking into the future is ensuring each and every ship that pulls away from the dock has the least impact on the environment as possible. Engineers predict that 30 years from now, the BC Ferries fleet will feature ships that are carbon neutral and give off zero emissions. Electric cars will likely increase the demand for on-board charging stations. And as the transportation tech sector prepares for driverless vehicles and changes to rapid transit, future vessels need to be adapting to meet the needs of passengers.
With the tourism industry now allowing travellers do remote check-in’s and carry paperless boarding passes, there is no telling what other advancements will be available in 2050. While no one can predict the future, BC Ferries knows it is critical to be innovative when it comes to IT and customer interface. Staying in tune with transportation demands and the changing landscape of cars and transit, the fleets of the future could look to embrace different fuel technology, utilize electric battery and find unique ways to incorporate automation into ship design.
At the core of BC Ferries are dedicated employees who work to keep up with this changing technology landscape. As a significant portion of baby-boomers get set to retire, young, innovative workers are required to take their place. With educational institutions arming students with the ability to think globally and drive change at a rapid pace, the future of BC Ferries looks to be bright, modern and highly innovative.