In 2022, over 300 cruise vessel calls are expected at Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver, nearly an 8% increase from 288 calls in 2019.
For more than 35 years, Vancouver has been a leading homeport for cruises to Alaska and is the only homeport to offer both one-way and roundtrip itineraries through Canada’s scenic Inside Passage to Alaska. Prior to the pandemic, forecasts indicated record growth in demand for cruises to Alaska, and demand is expected to remain strong in the future. The Vancouver cruise industry is a key contributor to the local economy, helping generate $3.17 million (CAD) in direct economic activity for each ship that calls at Canada Place and $2.2 billion (CAD) of total economic impact.
Recently, the Canadian federal government announced a new public health plan for cruise ships. Passengers are encouraged to check in with their cruise lines prior to their trip to review the most up-to-date guidelines.
As cruise returns to Canada after a two-year deferral due to COVID-19, the safety of local communities, passengers and guests remains a top priority. The port authority continues to follow the direction of Transport Canada, the lead federal agency responsible for regulations and safety policies.
Alongside safety measures, the port authority continues to work with its cruise line customers to advance environmental programs to support the sustainable future of cruise operations in Vancouver.
To reduce emissions and encourage cruise lines that want to plug into shore power, the port is working to increasing shore power capacity at Canada Place cruise terminal, so that every vessel that wants to plug-in has the option to do so by 2030. Since 2009, shore power at Canada Place has enabled ships to turn off their engines and plug into low-emission hydro-electricity eliminating over 24,000 tonnes of GHG. During the 2019 season, nearly 50% of shore power-enabled ships calling at the port were able to plug in. This season, more than 60% of all calls will be shore power-enabled.
The port authority is also working with marine stakeholders to facilitate LNG bunkering at the Port of Vancouver to support the transition toward cleaner fuels.
To protect local marine ecosystems, the port authority recently announced restrictions on the discharge of scrubber wash water at the Port of Vancouver. Under the new requirements, which came into effect March 1, 2022, ships are prohibited from discharging scrubber wash water while at berth or anchor within the Port of Vancouver.
To make local waters safer for at-risk whales, since 2017, the port authority-led Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program has organized large-scale underwater noise reduction efforts to support at-risk whales along British Columbia’s southern coast. This June, the ECHO Program will lead another season of voluntary initiatives encouraging ships to slow down or stay distanced within key areas of southern resident killer whale critical habitat throughout the Salish Sea.
Finally, to support industry in adopting environmental best practices at the Port of Vancouver, the port authority’s EcoAction Program provides fee reduction incentives and recognition of eligible cruise lines who employ best practices to help reduce the environmental impacts of shipping.
Cruise lines are at the forefront of safety and sustainability at the Port of Vancouver, and the port authority is looking forward to collaborating with industry to support the safe and sustainable return of cruise, in addition to providing a positive guests experience for all passengers.