FERRIES 2021: Updating a ferry fleet with hybrid technology

Written by Marine Log Staff
Casco Bay Line Ferry

Casco Bay Lines new ferry will feature ABB's hybrid-electric power and propulsion solutions

This year’s presentation of Marine Log’s FERRIES conference is now less than two months away.

The event will take place November 9-10 on the New York Harbor waterfront in Jersey City, N.J., in partnership with the Passenger Vessel Association. As its theme says, “The ferry industry is poised to rebound in 2022.”

This year, the program includes a presentation on hybrid technology with a real-life example from Portland, Maine-based Casco Bay Island Transit District, also known as Casco Bay Lines. Hank Berg, general manager and CEO of Casco Bay, will present on how the company updated the transit district fleet with a hybrid solution for a new ferry designed by Elliott Bay Design Group.

During his presentation, the audience will learn:

  • Why after conducting a thorough propulsion selection study that examined systems ranging from diesel mechanical to all-electric, Casco Bay Lines selected to move forward with a hybrid-electric passenger/vehicle ferry;
  • Where the 599-passenger, 15 vehicle ferry is in the design process;
  • Why ABB’s propulsion and shore charging stations were brought on to the project during the design phase to help mitigate any risk;
  • How the new 164-foot ferry can operate in either diesel electric or zero-emission battery powered modes—and is expected to cut 800 tons of carbon dioxide per year; and more.


Berg joined the Casco Bay Island Transit District in January 2010. Prior to joining Casco Bay Lines, he spent nine years at Taction, a Maine-based premier customer service contact center, serving in the roles of president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer during his tenure.

Berg also served for more than 20 years in the high-tech industry at Transcept, a start-up firm, and Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company.

He grew up in the mid-coast of Maine and has a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering, a master’s degree in computer engineering and an executive MBA from Boston University.


The venue, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking ferry traffic on the Hudson River, is a quick ferry ride from New York City.

Marine Log has partnered with the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) to plan what will be the industry’s first live event in 18 months.

In addition to two days of in-person discussions and dynamic Q&A sessions, the event will feature ample opportunities for networking.

Over the next several years, the ferry industry is expected to experience rapid growth and innovation. The collaboration between Marine Log and the PVA enables both organizations to share resources and industry knowledge in support of the ferry industry at this critical juncture.

As ever, a focus of the program will be on lessons learned from hard-earned, real-life experience. In addition, the program will explore new ways to meet economic and environmental targets through advances in technology, innovative approaches to operating a vessel, and the latest trends in ferry design.


A highlight of this year’s event will be an in-person tour of the first of the three new Ollis Class ferries being delivered to New York Harbor this fall for the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry Division. The ferries—designed by Elliott Bay Design Group in Seattle, Wash.—were built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s Allanton, Fla., shipyard.

Conference attendees will get a guided tour of the vessel’s pilothouse, engineroom, and its passenger spaces.

NYCDOT will also allow guests to explore its full mission pilothouse simulator. Designed as a close reproduction of the Ollis Class pilothouse, the simulator features the same Furuno radars and Transas ECS units as the ferries.

A Q&A session will conclude the tour on the saloon deck of the ferry prior to returning to the hotel for the remainder of the conference.

Currently, the growing list of event sponsors includes Cummins (platinum sponsor); UES Seating (tour sponsor); Hornblower (lunch sponsor); Glosten, ABB, and Siemens Energy (gold sponsors); NCP Coatings, MTU – A Rolls-Royce Solution, BMT, Elkon, EMS Marcon, Beier Integrated Systems, RocketRez, The Shearer Group, and Thrustmaster (silver sponsors); and Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Elliott Bay Design Group, Derecktor, Karl Senner, Rigidized Metals, All American Marine, R.A. Mitchell, and BAE Systems (bronze sponsors).

Registration for the event is now open

For questions on sponsorships, please contact David Harkey at [email protected]

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