Balancing priorities for sustainable cruise

Valeria Mangiarotti of Medcruise and Francesc Sanchez of the Port of Valencia address GreenPort Cruise
Valeria Mangiarotti of Medcruise and Francesc Sanchez of the Port of Valencia address GreenPort Cruise
Valeria Mangiarotti of Medcruise and Francesc Sanchez of the Port of Valencia address GreenPort Cruise
Valeria Mangiarotti of Medcruise and Francesc Sanchez of the Port of Valencia address GreenPort Cruise

Valencia is working hard with the city to establish a sustainable framework for growing cruising numbers, a balance many cruise ports are also trying to achieve.

GreenPort Cruise took place in Valencia, Spain, on 16 October 2018 with Francesc Sánchez, general manager, Port Authority of Valencia, reporting that cruise numbers had grown significantly for the city in recent years, about 3% annually.

"We want to multiply by two or three the number of cruise calls, but we think that this increase must be in line with services in the city with a whole proposal to make the cruise industry successful for the city and avoid the tensions we can see in other places of the world. We are working very hard with the city in establishing a sustainable framework for all cruises," he said.

Investment needed

In his welcome address, Michael McCarthy, Chairman, Cruise Europe, said that investment would be needed by ports to meet the 2020 sulphur limit and other demands. "The diversity of new technologies means that different shipping lines are making different choices. This may imply diverse and costly port investments. The question many ports are facing is which investments to make to avoid a chicken and egg situation."European ports that offer shore power connections to customers need a fairer situation regarding taxation," he said.

"At the moment, member states can ask for exemption for a limited period. Spain has received green light from the commission. This exemption will increase the attractiveness for ships to use onshore power supply."

Regarding port reception facilities, Mr McCarthy said: "Ports can play an important role in facilitating the smooth delivery of waste but we should acknowledge that this service comes at a cost. A flat fee can be set for a normal quantity of waste – but I’d like somebody to define what normal is. We need to incentivise ships to deliver a reasonable amount of waste without paying for it."

Environmental impact

Addressing the impact on ports of larger cruise vessels and new environmental strategies, Valeria Mangiarotti, director of environmental issues, MedCruise, said that ports need to adopt energy plans to achieve the greenest possible self-sufficiency, seeking policy integration between cruise lines and ports. "Which is the best strategy for MedCruise ports? Our choice now is LNG, for its environmental benefits, stability on all quaysides, and capacity. We don’t think cold ironing is possible for cruise."

Rafael Company, R&D manager, Valenciaport Foundation, said that his port is focusing on technologies to improve its efficiency and competitiveness. "One of our main goals is to balance environmental challenges and impacts in the cruise sector," he said. In addition to investment in LNG bunkering and a national heritage certification scheme, the port is also improving its data collection sources for air emissions.

Maximo Caletrio, Cruise Programme director, Valencia Tourism, described Valencia as a cruise-friendly city. ‘Cruise tourism has increased from just 18 calls in 2000, about 10,000 passengers, to a forecast for this year of nearly 200 cruise calls and more than 420,000 passengers. This growth is due to the adaptation of the port and new infrastructure.’ He said the city had invested in green shore excursions, including 141 km of cycle lanes.

Increasing tourism and larger vessels are among the factors prompting a backlash from some port cities against cruise, said Sacha Rougier, managing director, Cruise Gate Hamburg.

She asked delegates: "Is it the cruise lines or is it the port that is responsible? Ships are now equipped with emissions reduction technology but the industry is much blamed because cruise is the first thing you see." She said Hamburg was committed to keeping the cruise industry in a positive light. "We are in constant exchange with the cruise lines to make sure that we are online with what they are doing. We have set up an incentive for green ships and introduced a new environmental component." She said 30 per cent of ships visiting Hamburg already have an alternative energy supply.

Shipowner's perspective

A shipowner’s perspective was provided by Guillermo Alomar Borràs, fleet manager, Balearia. "We are pioneers in the use of LNG," he said, attributing his company’s choice of LNG as a fuel to the company’s “3C culture: conviction – we are committed to sustainable development; convenience – LNG reduces bunkering costs compared to MGO; and coercion – we want to anticipate the new rules for the 2020 sulphur deadline." Balearia will retrofit five ships in its fleet to use LNG in time for the new legislation.

Juan Ignacio Buenestado, LNG Bunkering, business development, Naturgy, said: "There are increasing concerns about pollution by bigger ships in the cities. LNG is a pragmatic bridge to the future but the question is how long will this bridge be? We have an incentive to introduce LNG as a real alternative fuel." Having won the first Spanish LNG supply contract, Naturgy will supply cruise vessels in Barcelona with LNG by mid-2020.

Making the case for cold ironing, Davide Reale, product manager in shore power, Cavotec, said that since California introduced shore power in 2005, the state has seen a reduction of more than 80% in levels of particulate matter. "China is also starting to look to shore power to reduce pollution in ports. We have got a good number of projects going on in the last 2-3 years."

Port reception facilities

Port reception facilities were the focus in the day’s final session. Anna Bobo-Remijn, European Commission, Directorate General for Mobility and Transport Maritime Safety Unit, said it was important for legislation to balance requirements regarding the adequacy of port reception facilities with operational and environmental conditions.

Encouraging the use of waste reception facilities was key, she said. "We try to improve the use of facilities through incentives, enforcement and exemptions." She said a new sanctions regime for infringements of MARPOL represented "a significant amendment of MARPOL that will strengthen enforcement at sea."

Many shipowners support proposals for better waste handling in ports, said Gudrun Janssens, director – maritime safety & environment, European Community Shipowners’ Associations. She said the harmonisation of waste handling regimes was an important aspect that needed to be addressed. "There is a need to be specific in terms of amount and type of waste. We think it very difficult to have a one-size-fits-all recovery system."

Paula Cristina Sengo, environmental technical advisor, sustainability at the Port of Lisbon, reported on ESPO’s recent deliberations regarding port reception facilities.

"New provisions should use the ‘polluter pays’ principle. Discussion is also welcome regarding new types of waste such as scrubber waste, and the alignment of waste delivery obligations with MARPOL will reduce the administrative burden," she said.

"ESPO believes that delivery of unreasonable quantities of waste for a fixed fee is a severe and unacceptable diversion from the ‘polluter pays’ principle. We prefer bottom-up initiatives."

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