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European Ports Reaffirm Stance on Sustainable Cruise Activity

Credit: Port of Oslo
Credit: Port of Oslo

By The Maritime Executive 11-12-2019 07:30:03

The sustainability of cruise activity in Europe is currently under pressure with, for example, Venice moving to ban cruise ships from entering from April 2020. 

The European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) has issued a statement saying it takes the concerns seriously. “The vicinity to Europe’s cultural heritage and main must-sees makes many European port cities attractive tourist destinations. Their ports are or have become much demanded cruise ports. European port managing bodies are happy to be an access gate to Europe’s cultural heritage, but understand that they must do whatever is possible within their remit to keep this activity sustainable and acceptable for the local population.”

ESPO has also prepared a statement to explain how important it is for European ports to keep all their port activities sustainable and what can be done to enhance a balanced development of cruise activities in European ports.

“Given the current pressure on the cruise business in European ports, it is important for port managing bodies to make things clear. The cruise discussion cannot be reduced to a yes/no,” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost. “European ports are mission driven, combine commercial and wider societal responsibilities. All activities in the port must be considered from that perspective, also cruise. 

“Even if the tourism saturation issue might be different from port to port, all ports believe that the environmental footprint of any cruise activity must be kept as small as possible. The greening of the shipping sector must take place, and cruise lines should step up their efforts to achieve this. Moreover, dialogue with the cruise lines, the local community and the tourist destinations are at the center of a balanced development of the cruise business in Europe. Finally, we believe that being more transparent about added value and externalities is instrumental for ports to maintain their license to operate.” 

The ESPO statement is available here.