The Port of Barcelona strengthens its leadership in cruises with a commitment to sustainability and innovation. The Catalan port will receive 800 cruise calls this year
This week, at the Seatrade Cruise Global 2018 event, the Port of Barcelona has set out its commitment to sustainability, the environment and innovation as strategic axes for the development of cruise activity.
The Port also underscored the good pace of development of the new infrastructures dedicated to this sector and the loyalty shown by the leading global operators towards Barcelona.
The delegation underlined the clear commitment of the cruise industry to Barcelona, a fact borne out by the investment this industry is making in new facilities, and by the number of calls that 35 shipping companies will make in the Catalan capital in 2018.
Cruises all year round
The representatives from the Port announced the figures for 2017, which was a record year in terms of the 2.71 million cruise passengers (up 1.1%) and 778 stopovers made. Of particular note was the 13% growth posted during the winter months (January, February, March, November and December), an increase that was multiplied during the first two months of 2018 as a result of the Port’s strategy to de-seasonalise this activity. In January and February, the volume of cruise passengers increased by 51%.
The Port of Barcelona is anticipating a total 800 cruise calls in 2018. A slight year-on-year increase in passenger numbers is expected, which will depend upon the level of occupation of the cruise ships.
Ten ships will stop over in the city for the first time
This year the Port of Barcelona will receive ten cruise ships on their first call to the city: Symphony of the Seas, Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, MSC Seaview, Viking Spirit, Celestyal Olympia, Sapphire Princess, TUI Explorer, Celebrity Eclipse and Le Laperouse. Of these, the first five are latest- generation ships that have just entered into service, or will do so in the coming months.
Several ships are noteworthy, such as the Symphony of the Seas, the latest cruise ship from Royal Caribbean, which is the most innovative and technologically advanced of its fleet and is also highly efficient environmentally. This ship will perform a total of 30 calls in our Port during 2018. Also worthy of mention is the MSC Seaview, the new vessel from MSC Cruceros, which will call 24 times in the Catalan capital.
The ‘Barcelona model’ of collaboration
This spring Carnival Corporation, the world’s leading cruise group, will inaugurate the new 12,000 square metre Terminal E, one of the largest cruise terminals in Europe. Involving an investment of € 30 million, the facility has been designed using high-efficiency and sustainability criteria and is prepared to cater for larger cruise vessels.
The Port of Barcelona is preparing the urban development of the area surrounding the terminal, which covers 45,000 square metres, for an investment of € 2.9 million.
The Catalan delegation also highlighted the importance of the agreement reached by Barcelona City Council and the Port to reorganise the cruise infrastructures.
The agreement, which relies on the ‘Barcelona model’ of collaboration between administrations, the private sector, local stakeholders and Barcelona airport, envisages progressively withdrawing cruise activity from the North and South terminals, which are closest to the city, to concentrate all cruise operations on the Adossat Wharf. This wharf, which currently has five terminals (including Terminal E), can accommodate up to seven terminals on the same berthing line.
Sustainability and value contribution
Sustainability is another element that sets Barcelona apart in the cruise field. The Port is pushing forward concrete initiatives aimed at facilitating sustainable growth of the sector, both with environmental measures, included in its Air Quality Improvement Plan, and by promoting efficient management of cruise passenger mobility. The delegation from the Port of Barcelona pointed out that cruise operators are especially sensitive to environmental issues and to their own environmental footprint, so there are several areas in which port and shipping companies can work together.
The Port is therefore making a firm commitment to using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a clean fuel (it produces 85% fewer nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 40% less CO2 and completely eliminates emissions of particulate matter and sulphur oxides). This strategy fits squarely with the environmental commitment shown by the industry, which has already announced or begun the construction of 13 cruise ships to run on this alternative fuel.
Likewise, the Port is working to equip itself with all the necessary infrastructures and facilities for supplying LNG and is currently performing pilot projects to demonstrate and promote the viability of LNG as a fuel for mobility.
The Port of Barcelona delegation also referred to the results of the recent study made by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) using data from 2016. The study confirms that the cruise industry is an important driver of the economy of Barcelona and Catalonia. Passengers coming to the city on a cruise account for only 8% of total tourists, but generate 20% of total spending, with an impact on the economy totalling more than € 1 billion a year. These results are due largely to the fact that more than half of all cruise passengers begin and end their trip in Barcelona.
The study explains that the total turnover generated in Catalonia by each cruise passenger from the Port of Barcelona was € 518 in 2016 (20% more than in 2014). The fact that the growth in the number of cruise passengers was under 1% a year from 2011 to 2016 shows that, while cruise passenger numbers remained practically stable, their economic contribution to the surrounding area increased substantially. This is due to the Port’s commitment to sustainable growth and to its qualitative leap as a home port over the last few years (an activity that increased by 28% over this period).