For almost 30 years, Searoad Ferries has been transporting passengers and cars across Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

A family-owned business, Searoad Ferries started with just one ferry in 1987 and now carries 750 000 passengers each year on its three Australian-made vessels.

“This generates over $100 million for the regional economy annually and supports over 500 jobs, 100 of which are with Searoad Ferries,” Chief Executive Officer, Matt McDonald, says.

Ferries depart Queenscliff and Sorrento every hour, on the hour from 7 am to 6 pm daily, with additional twilight services during the summer. The journey has become a highlight of the Victorian coastal travel experience.

Searoad Ferries are diesel powered and use approximately 1.5 million litres per annum. Fuel is the second biggest cost after labour and therefore a major business input.

You can’t get more off-road than ferry transport. In fact, Searoad ensures around 200 000 cars are taken off the road every year.

The road distance from Sorrento to Queenscliff, via Melbourne, is approximately 220 km and can take up to 3 hours. The 5.6 nautical mile crossing takes approximately 40 minutes; saving time, kilometres and carbon emissions.

“Less than 13.5 kg of CO2 is emitted per vehicle on a ferry crossing between Queenscliff and Sorrento, compared to 57.2 kg per car by road for the same trip,” Matt says.

Searoad is continually improving its fuel efficiency.

“We invest in efficiency measures within our fleet, including new hull efficiency technology and upgrades to modernise engines,” Matt says.

“Any decrease in fuel tax credits would see costs passed on to the consumer,” he says. “This will lead to a reduction in visitation rates to regional and coastal Victoria, leading to less economic activity and jobs.”