The landmark signing was done in the presence of Federal State minister of economic affairs, Dr. Bernd Buchholz, Federal State secretary of the environment, Tobias Goldschmidt, and AIDA president Felix Eichhorn.
The core points of the agreement include the construction of a shoreside power plant by Seehafen Kiel on the Ostseekai (Baltic Quay), the use of low-emission liquefied natural gas(LNG) to operate AIDA Cruises' ships while they are in port, and the use of modern exhaust gas cleaning systems.
Minister-president Günther said, 'With this declaration of intent we have taken a big step towards making cruise tourism in the north [of Germany] both more future-proof and environmentally-friendlier.'
The Federal State intends to financially support the planned construction of the shoreside power plant on the Ostseekai and will be examining grant options.
'Sustainability, regional value creation and innovation are integral to our activities,' noted Thamm.
Making cruise tourism forward-looking and sustainable
'We are very pleased that we are able to support the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein and the City of Kiel in making cruise tourism forward-looking and sustainable. I am firmly convinced that this kind of partnership will have a beacon effect for other ports in Germany and in Europe.'
Trial operations on supplying LNG to AIDAprima while berthed at port will begin in Kiel in 2019.
AIDA Cruises announced it will be fitting two other ships AIDAbella and AIDAluna with shoreside power connections and will also deploy cruise ships in Kiel that are fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems.
Important step for the widespread acceptance of cruise tourism
Dr. Buchholz called the development not only, 'an important step for the widespread acceptance of cruise tourism in Kiel, but also for the cruise company itself because the ships’ carbon footprints will increasingly affect guests’ booking behavior.'
Goldschmidt added, 'We want to reduce air pollution in ports and their immediate environs by means of various measures. There are already alternatives to conventional on-board power generation with marine diesel, but they are not used on cost grounds. Support measures are required to change that.
'Apart from financial support for the provision of the necessary infrastructure in the ports and the prorated exemption of shoreside power from the levy imposed under the German Renewable Energies Act, these measures most notably also include a port charges structure that favours low-emission alternatives,' he added.
Goldschmidt said, 'We have already called on the Federal Government to liaise with the EU Commission on uniform environmental standards - such as maximum values for sulfur content in ship fuels - in the territorial waters of the Member States.
'In addition, the foreseen designation of the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel as a NOx (nitrogen oxides) Emission Control Area (NECA) should be expanded to all EU waters.'
Shoreside power in the cruise industry is a challenge
Claus commented, 'Shoreside power in the cruise industry is a challenge. However, with AIDA Cruises we have found a viable basis for tackling this issue that complements the powering of ships with LNG. We want to set new standards together.'
The shoreside power connection on the Ostseekai will have a connected load of 12 MW and will be able to supply ships whose on-board power supply has a frequency of 50 Hz and 60 Hz.
Kiel’s Mayor Kämpfer remarked, 'Ship exhaust is often also mentioned in the debate on air pollutants from diesel vehicles on Kiel’s roads. For cruise ships to be accepted in Kiel it is important that other cruise companies also devote themselves more to the issues of the environment and sustainability.
'First liquefied natural gas and soon shoreside power on the Ostseekai for AIDA ships - that is exactly the signal we want to send out for the future of the port of Kiel and it also fits perfectly with the seaport of Kiel’s Blue Port concept that has just been drawn up.'