Safeguarding the development of sustainable cruise activity: a priority for European ports

Safeguarding the development of sustainable cruise activity: a priority for European ports

Safeguarding the development of sustainable cruise activity: a priority for European ports

Categories: ESPO, EuropePublished On: 25.11.2019667 words3.3 min read

ESPO released a statement, explaining how important it is for European ports to keep all their port activities sustainable and what can be done to enhance a balanced development of cruise activities in European ports.

The prime driver of cruise business is the destination. However, the development of the cruise port business in a port is only partially in the hands of the port authority. The changing attractiveness or new branding of a tourist destination can make a port into a must as cruise destination. In addition, shifting geopolitical situations or any event or circumstance that makes a tourist destination less popular will affect the cruise port.

Currently, the cruise industry contributes greatly to the European economy. In 2017, €4.23 billion was spent by cruise passengers and crews in Europe. Passenger expenditures include spending for shore excursions, pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, air travel and other merchandise at ports-of-embarkation and ports-of-call. Crew spending was concentrated in expenditures for retail goods and food and beverages.

Increasingly, European ports are showing their environmental track record and transparency. Through its environmental report , ESPO presents each year the main environmental benchmarks of the sector. In addition, over 100 European ports are part of the EcoPorts network, the main environmental initiative of European port sector. More than 70% of these ports are certified with an internationally recognised environmental standard (ISO 140001, PERS and EMAS).

In addition, the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) has also started working on the development of a harmonised format for collecting data on emissions of cruise ships during port calls. At the same time, the EU Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system (MRV) started publishing aggregate data on CO2 emissions per ship name on annual basis6 , including cruise ships’ emissions at berth for all EU ports.

More specifically, ESPO notes that European ports are combining different roles and responsibilities. In each of these roles, port managing bodies aspire to combine commercial interests with wider societal responsibilities. As mission driven and mostly public entities, port managing bodies invest in sustainable port development and in guaranteeing that any port activity remains sustainable in the long run.

Moreover, they urge cruise lines to increase efforts to further reduce the environmental footprint of cruise activity. As a matter of fact:

European ports welcome in that respect the commitment of the global cruise industry to reduce the rate of carbon emissions across the industry fleet by 40 percent by 2030. In particular, ports welcome the recent efforts and investments made by some cruise lines to change towards more environmentally friendly sources of energy and encourage the sector as such to continue on this path

Moreover, ports understand that the demand for clean air is a priority for European citizens. Namely, air quality will become a key determinant of public acceptance of port activity in the years to come. Cruise port activity, as any other port activity, must be looked at from this perspective. Keeping the emissions in ports and in the vicinity of housing areas to a safe and acceptable level must in that sense be seen as a first priority.

What is more, the energy transition of the shipping sector, including the cruise lines, will be the first and most important way to ensure the sustainable development of the cruise business in Europe. In fact, European ports ask for an immediate implementation of the IMO target for shipping. The first priority is to apply the measures to reduce emissions and to establish pathways to be pursued in terms of future fuels. Cleaner fuels for cruise shipping must deliver both in terms of air quality and decarbonization. For this reaso, ESPO asks European policy makers to discuss the implementation of an EU Emission Control Area (SECA and NECA), in close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders. . . . .

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