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CLIA calls on governments to earmark ETS revenues for renewable energy

PHOTO: HOLLY PAYNE cruise_vago_hamburg.jpg
Vago said that since 2019, CLIA cruise line members have invested €27.6b in new ships, and in the next five years, will invest a further €28.9b
Pierfrancesco Vago, global chair, Cruise Lines International Association, encouraged Seatrade Europe delegates to advocate for cruising and highlight the industry’s achievements at every opportunity, while also calling on governments to set aside funds to support decarbonisation efforts.

Delivering his keynote speech on the first day of the Sept. 6-8 event in Hamburg, he described a ‘growing enthusiasm to cruise’ with this summer’s passenger volumes forecast to reach levels higher than before the pandemic, surpassing the World Tourism Organization's outlook for international travel. 

But, he added, ‘… we still face huge challenges. One of these is telling the world what we are achieving. We still face too much unfounded criticism. So please, take every opportunity to speak of our achievements to the public, governments, other stakeholders, guests, and potential guests. We are relying on their support to secure our futures, the future of the blue planet, and the future of cruising.

‘We are rising to the challenge of society’s ambitions for climate action, careful, stewardship of our oceans, and responsible tourism management by transforming how we sail.’

Step change in uptake of environmental technologies

Vago alluded to CLIA's newly released 2023 Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Report, showing concrete progress in advancing cruising's environmental and sustainability agenda.

Highlighting some of the report’s significant findings, he said, ‘Since 2019, CLIA cruise line members have invested €27.6b in new ships, and in the next five years, will invest a further €28.9b. And it is important to remember that 98% of those ships are built in Europe, representing an estimated €56.5b contribution to the European economy.’

Efficiency tracking systems are now in use on 171 CLIA member ships, he revealed, with the industry diversifying energy solutions, introducing dual fuel engines, and trialing fuel cell technology for power sharing. 

Addressing one of the industry’s main challenges, he stated, ‘We know that it will be mandatory for ships to plug in at the main European ports by 2030 … Yet, the reality is that power is currently only available at 13 ports in Europe, and 32 ports worldwide.’

Developing port infrastructure

Vago said across Europe, national governments and port authorities will need to scale up efforts to build the port infrastructure necessary across 328 ports to meet the European Union’s 2030 target. ‘The lack of infrastructure at scale is also a challenge to the EU ambition to transition towards the use of alternative fuels - the bunkering facilities at ports that will be needed.’

He commended German ports for their leadership, the host country of Seatrade Cruise Europe. ‘Germany is the largest cruise source market in Europe with some of the most important cruise ports… Hamburg, Rostock, and Kiel all provide shoreside electricity, and are planning to extend it further.’

Calling on governments to mark ETS revenues

Vago explained that in just a few months’ time, the maritime sector will become part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): ‘Operators will begin to pay for each tonne of CO2 emitted, and revenues will be collected by national governments.’ He said, ‘We welcome the inclusion of the maritime sector in the EU Innovation Fund. This is an opportunity for our industry to identify projects that merit funding that will support our drive to innovate. However, 75% of the ETS revenues will be allocated to member states.’

He continued, ‘If governments are serious about the scale of change needed, the Innovation Fund alone will not be enough. Member states must act too. CLIA is calling on national governments to earmark the ETS revenues secured from the maritime sector to fund the necessary infrastructure and support the deployment of renewable energy at an accessible price.

‘While the infrastructure needs are enormous, I am confident that if industry and governments work together, side-by-side, we can deliver.

Collaborate - for the greater good

Vago said that industry leaders must work together, to find common technologies and solutions. ‘We need to all pull in the same direction and collaborate for the greater good. There might not only be one answer to a problem, but there should be one path we are walking together.’

He concluded the speech with, ‘We are an attractive industry, and this is why people are booking cruise holidays in such large numbers. It is our value for money, the unique environments we create onboard our vessels and the incredible destinations we call.

‘But my last message to you is, please, let’s also be attractive for the best reasons. Sustainability reasons. We know what needs to be done.’