Passenger services director for P&O Ferries, Simon Johnson, has become the nineteenth chairman of the Passenger Shipping Association.
The decision was taken at the annual general meeting, held at the Chamber of Shipping in London.
Johnson takes on the role at a time when both the ferry and cruise industries are pulling together to face economic and legislative challenges.
More than 39 million passengers travelled by ferry to and from UK ports in 2011 and a record 1.7 million British people took a cruise.
The UK is the second largest source market for cruise holidays worldwide and figures released in Brussels last week show that the cruise industry alone accounts for £2.28 billion of direct expenditure in the UK and provides employment for more than 63,000 people.
On taking up his position Johnson said: “Both the ferry and cruise industries are very important to the UK economy.
“We work well together to ensure best practice and both sectors have invested heavily in ships and services, but we face major new challenges ahead.
He pointed to one example - sulphur regulations coming into force in 2015 will lead to substantial increases in shipping fuel costs – potentially up to 87 per cent for ships operating within Emission Control Areas (ECAs).
The ferry industry could see the closure of longer routes and the cruise industry may see itineraries curtailed, affecting revenue and visitors in ports.
“Together with our partners, I can confirm that the PSA will continue to seek government support in finding measures to alleviate the substantial financial effects for passenger services that are confined to operating within an ECA,” explained Johnson.