Cruise industry calls at #IAPH2020

By Ines Nastali (Editor, Ports & Harbors)

Balancing and aligning the disparate interests of cruise lines, ports, and municipalities can be a challenge – but not an insurmountable one, according to Tom Boardley, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe Secretary General. Ahead of his appearance at a special panel at the World Ports Conference 2020 on ‘Sustainable Maritime Business Through Cooperation’, Boardley spoke to IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven about how the cruise industry can improve relationships with stakeholders, both within maritime and beyond.

Cruise travel has reached unprecedented levels of popularity over the past years. This development has drawn greater attention to the shipping industry, which, as a whole, generally flies under the general public’s radar – unless a cargo ship is involved in a major incident. “Whereas cargo shipping often seems hidden,” Boardley explained, “I feel that within the maritime community, there is a sense that the cruise industry brings this unwanted attention to the environmental performance of ships.”

Given that larger cruise ships, and their guests, are not unconditionally welcomed around the world, CLIA is working on improving relationships with stakeholders from different sectors, including those outside maritime – a strategy that Verhoeven supports. “Cruise calls are the best way to make people aware that there is a port,” he underlined. “Let’s take Hamburg: when the first large cruise ships came to call, there was a big party every time!”

Yet educating the general public about cruise and port benefits remains a work in progress. “What’s happening now is that cruise lines, in conjunction with the ports, are hosting open days and allow key stakeholders to visit the ships,” Boardley said, spotlighting Norway as a place where CLIA has successfully engaged local stakeholders. Japan and Scotland are also examples of destination countries where the cruise lines, ports and local governments are collaborating extensively to reap the extended benefits from cruise calls.

Verhoeven believes that increasing the transparency of industry efforts is important, as is making this information easily accessible. “A lot of people don’t even realise that we have a low emission zone in Europe, and soon this will be all over the world,” he reasoned. “At IAPH, we started a project to measure the emission of ships at berth and we’re working on having real-time information that we can share with the local government and we hope to expand that in 2020, hopefully with CLIA.”

These critical issues will be further addressed by Boardley at the World Ports Conference 2020 during a special panel on ‘Sustainable Maritime Business Through Cooperation’. He will be joined on the 19 March panel by an impressive list of supply chain thought leaders: - Emanuele Grimaldi – Managing Director, Grimaldi Group

- Hadiza Bala Usman – Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority/VP IAPH

- Clemence Cheng – Executive Director, Hutchison Ports

- Despina Theodosiou – President, Women's International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA)

This article was excerpted from the January/February 2020 issue of Ports & Harbors, the official journal of the International Association of Ports & Harbors. To learn more about subscribing, email

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