The World Association for Water-borne Transport Infra-structure (PIANC) notes that ports already welcoming cruise traffic must continually adapt their infrastructure to meet cruise lines’ needs. It is essential for port infrastructure to be planned carefully and to include appropriate facilities for present and future requirements. This article will explore how cruise industry leaders are positioning their organization to be big-ship ready.
Industry trends and initiatives
From a global perspective, one of the most critical factors influencing new cruise port planning and existing terminal redevelopment is the trend towards ever-larger cruise vessels. PIANC reports that over the last 15 years, the average capacity of cruise ships has grown by 138 per cent to 3,100 passengers, while average vessel length has increased by 50 per cent, up to 300 metres. Also, ships with a capacity for over 5,000 passengers are becoming more and more common.
Photo above: Nanaimo's state-of-the-art Welcome Centre (courtesy Nanaimo Port Authority)
In response, the PIANC unveiled its first Guidelines for Cruise Terminals in 2016. The guide includes all areas of cruise ship operations: elements on the maritime side, the wharf-side services area (apron), terminal building and land transport area. It also includes guidelines on security, financial and operational aspects. The guide sets out the various criteria to be defined before designing the maritime part of cruise terminals, for example, the characteristics of the ships the port expects to receive; approach and berthing manoeuvres; mooring and defence systems; and the type of protection against erosion of propellers.
Michael McLaughlin, the Port of Seattle’s Director, Cruise and Maritime Operations, indicated that planning for larger ships in his port commenced with an unprecedented partnership with a major cruise line.