Turner believes that these advantages will initially attract private U.S. ferry operators because the CFRP ferries will cost about 10 percent more than aluminum ones and public operators are generally required to take the lowest bid. “Private companies that want to increase their profits will quickly realize that they can save thousands and thousands of gallons of fuel every year and reduce maintenance costs down the road for years,” he emphasizes.
Even while the company looks to sell its first T-class ferry, Arcadia Alliance has begun conversations with the U.S. Coast Guard to work toward acceptance for larger CFRP hulled ‘K-class’ ferries capable of carrying 150 or more passengers. To help with this process, the company has hired Captain John W. Mauger, a retired Coast Guard commanding officer, as a consultant. With Mauger’s help, Arcadia Alliance recently began talks with the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center. Turner knows it will likely be a long process, but says that the Coast Guard has been very receptive to working toward a positive outcome.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of room in the T-class market. Turner says that New York City alone is adding 30 new ferry routes later this year that will require approximately 20 ferries. “As we familiarize ourselves with the landscape, we learn of more and more potential boats and routes that may become available as larger cities on water realize that water transportation is, in some cases, the only way to relieve the over congestion on the highway, rail and subway systems,” explains Turner.