KPFF and Ferry Operations in NY Harbor

KPFF and Ferry Operations in NY Harbor

December 19, 2022
Spiro Kremmidas PE, SE

Spiro Kremmidas PE, SE

Managing Principal
KPFF and Ferry Operations in NY Harbor

Beginning over a decade ago, KPFF has been engaged in ferry planning, design, and consulting with most of the major operators in New York harbor.  KPFF’s Marine Transit Consulting Group (MTCG) has worked with the Staten Island Ferry (SIF), NYC Ferry, and the Governors Island Ferry, as well as NJ Transit (NJT), NJ DOT (NJDOT), and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) on planning and infrastructure projects. As local ferry operators expand their services and transition to zero-emission operations, KPFF will continue to provide expertise and support for ongoing and future operations and electrification efforts.

KPFF’s Marine Transit Consulting Group

KPFF’s MTCG was created in 2008, leveraging our unique in-house expertise to provide comprehensive consulting services to the ferry industry. In 2009, the MTCG was selected by the Staten Island Ferry to develop a 20-year fleet plan and design guidelines for vessels to replace the John F. Kennedy and Barberi-class vessels, which were reaching the end of their useful service life. The work led to the development of the concepts and performance specifications that formed the basis of the Ollis-class ferry design. The plan recommended the acquisition of three new vessels and the third just recently arrived in NY Harbor.

Staten Island Ollis-Class Ferry

Building on the success of the fleet planning work, KPFF continued working with the SIF to modify crew and vessel schedules to reduce overtime, support increased overnight service, and study the feasibility of SIF providing service to additional destinations in Manhattan, a service which was recently implemented by the EDC’s NYC Ferry.

KPFF’s marine engineering group is also working with the SIF to design improvements to the piers at the St. George Ferry Maintenance Facility to provide safe mooring for the ferry fleet under heavy weather and hurricane conditions. This work includes an assessment of the existing structural capacity, development of mooring arrangement concepts, and designs for new mooring hardware and supporting structures.

Expanding Ferry Operations

Working with our partners from the SIF planning work, KPFF provided operations consulting and operating cost estimates for some of the PANYNJ’s regional ferry studies looking at both Cross-Hudson and East River services.  Some of this work was leveraged from previous efforts done in 2013 when KPFF was part of the team for the 2013 Citywide Ferry Study for the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), on which we assessed governance models, maritime labor issues, operating schedules, and operating costs.

The 2013 Citywide Ferry Study determined that an East River ferry service could be successful so the EDC decided to move forward and create the East River Ferry, serving five terminals in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.  KPFF’s unique expertise continued to be utilized to help with the implementation planning and development of additional recommendations that were incorporated into the planning for the expanded NYC Ferry system.

As NYC Ferry was starting up, a team led by KPFF was brought onboard to provide a range of consulting services, including assessments of the new operators Safety Management Systems, labor agreements, and vessel acquisition processes. After the initial service was expanded and demand continued to grow, KPFF assessed potential new routes to determine which ones had the greatest probability of success when the service was further expanded to serve all five boroughs.

Future Ferry Maintenance Facilities and Terminals

Across the Hudson River, NJT called on KPFF’s expertise in ferry maintenance facilities to assess options for the development of a maintenance and overnight moorage facility for ferries operating between New Jersey and Manhattan. The site evaluation criteria included overnight moorage for 20 vessels, the ability to haul out one or more vessel for hull inspections and repair, general maintenance, and refueling as well as crew dispatch, locker rooms, and administrative office space. Although several sites were found to be feasible for a new facility, development pressure, land ownership, and operational challenges have prevented this effort from moving into planning and design.

Through an on-call contract with NJ DOT, KPFF provided preliminary design reviews of proposed new terminals in Carteret and South Amboy as part of the due diligence required before the release of the federal funds administered by the NJ Office of Maritime Resources.

Preparing for Zero-Emission Operations

In the middle of the harbor, KPFF worked with the naval architects designing Governors Island’s newest passenger and vehicle ferry to define the infrastructure required to support shoreside charging of the vessel batteries to allow zero-emission operations. This infrastructure would include new transformers, shoreside batteries, and a rapid charging system located between the two slips at Soissons Landing to connect the ferry to shore power and transfer a full charge within the time it typically takes to unload and load the ferry. The concept design and cost estimate generated as part of this study was then used to apply for a grant from the Federal Transit Authority to cover the cost of the new infrastructure so that it will be ready to go shortly after the new diesel-electric hybrid vessel is delivered.

Governor’s Island Ferry

Resiliency Planning

Currently, KPFF is providing technical support to the NYC EDC team responsible for the Financial District and-Seaport Climate Resilience Plan. This visionary project will include the relocation and/or reconstruction of three ferry terminals along the southeast edge of Manhattan and KPFF is addressing both continuity of operations and terminal layout issues to minimize service disruptions and improve long-term operating efficiency. KPFF’s relationships around the harbor are proving to be very valuable in coordinating this effort with other marine transit planning efforts in the area.

KPFF currently has on-call contracts with SIF, the Trust for Governors Island, NYCEDC, and NJ DOT through which we expect to continue serving ferry operations in one of the busiest and most dynamic harbors in the world.

For more information about KPFF’s Ferry Operation Services, please contact Andrew Bennett with Seattle’s Waterfront Services Group or Spiro Kremmidas with KPFF’s New York City team.

KPFF and Ferry Operations in NY Harbor

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