Hamburg is betting on Sustainable Growth in Cruise Shipping

2018 proved to be another highly satisfying cruise season for Cruise Gate Hamburg GmbH (CGH). The operator of Hamburg’s three terminals expects cruise travel in the city to continue to grow sharply. In 2018, CGH recorded 220 calls and probably over 915,000 passengers (2017: 198 calls, 813,000 passengers). The figures exceed the 880,000 passengers originally projected for this season. From 2015 to 2018, the growth rate jumped by 76%. 

Sustainable development of cruise tourism

Sacha Rougier, Managing Director of CGH said, “This increase in cruise traffic exceeds the European market development. Hamburg ranks among the world’s top 20 home ports; in terms of growth it precedes even the home ports of Sydney and Miami. However, looking at the successful development since 2015 - CGH draws a positive balance– we also know that this is not the time to lean back and relax. We still need optimal conditions in Hamburg and the support of the shipping companies to continue our success story. When it comes to the cruise industry, the city’s foremost concern is “environmental sustainability”, i.e. sustainable, ecological growth. We strive to make Hamburg a green port.” 

Together with the city and its parent company, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), CGH is committed to promoting the supply of eco-friendly power at all cruise terminals. Ships mooring at Steinwerder can opt to have a truck supply them with low-emissions liquefied natural gas (LNG) while at the berth. At the cruise terminal in Altona cruise liners have been switching off their engines since 2016 during their port time, instead relying on Europe’s only shore power station for their electricity needs. In both 2017 / 2018 cruise season, this reduced CO2 emissions in the Port of Hamburg by some 658 tonnes. The new terminal in HafenCity, which is expected to start operations in 2022, will also be fitted with a shore power station. 

Consistently increasing the share of shore power and liquefied natural gas supplied to ships at the berth is one of the aims set out in the Hamburg Clean Air Plan. In 2017 a new, extended plan was adopted. Among others, it puts special emphasis on the situation in the port. The aim is to lower nitrous oxide emissions from ships in the port by 1,160 tonnes by 2025.  

“Growth and sustainability do not exclude each other. On the contrary, current passenger numbers clearly show that growth and measures to improve sustainability can co-exist,” says Michael Otremba, Managing Director of Hamburg Convention Bureau GmbH.

Maiden calls and event highlights in 2019

In the coming year, Hamburg has numerous highlights in store for cruise fans. A total of seven giant cruise ships will call at the Hanseatic city for the first time: Mein Schiff 2, Hanseatic Nature, that will be christened in Hamburg in April, and Hanseatic Inspiration, MS Roald Amundsen, World in Explorer, Costa Smeralda and MSC Grandiosa, that will also be christened in the Hanseatic city in November. The shipping companies with the most passengers are AIDA Cruises and MSC Cruises, followed by TUI Cruises Cunard Line and Costa Cruises.  

Hamburg Cruise Days 2019 set to welcome more ships than ever

The growing popularity of cruise travel is not least due to highly attractive events such as the Hamburg Cruise Days. The internationally famous maritime event, which next year takes place from September 13 through 15, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of cruise enthusiasts from all over the world to the Port of Hamburg, making it one of the most important events held at the Hanseatic city besides the Harbour’s Birthday (10-12 May 2019).

“The Hamburg Cruise Days and the BluePort concept developed by Michael Batz significantly enhance citizens’ and visitors’ experience in that they enable them to enjoy and feel the special atmosphere and the city’s maritime identity. Our high quality standards combined with the emotions we evoke when the port becomes a stage underline the fact that Hamburg has the most eventful port in the world,” Michael Otremba adds. 

The commitment of cruise lines to the event, which has been increasing for years, shows just how important the Hamburg Cruise Days festival is for the industry. The seventh Hamburg Cruise Days next year is expected to see a record high in the number of participating ships. A total of 12 cruise liners will call at the Hanseatic city over the Hamburg Cruise Days weekend. Among them are the AIDAperla, AIDAsol, AIDAvita (all AIDA Cruises), Amadea (Phoenix Reisen), Costa Mediterranea (Costa Cruises), EUROPA and EUROPA 2 (both Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), Mein Schiff 4 (TUI Cruises), MSC Preziosa (MSC Cruises) and the World Explorer (nicko cruises) as well as the two river cruise ships, Frederic Chopin (nicko cruises) and Sans Souci (Plantours).

Though there is almost another year until the event takes place, several partners and sponsors have already committed to it. AIDA Cruises will once more be a premium partner in 2019, and MSC Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have signed agreements. Apart from shipping companies, other partners such as, e.g. Blohm & Voss, a shipyard, Holsten Brauerei, a beer brewery, and Holzhafen Hamburg, a port district, have also committed to the event. Talks to other sponsors are currently being held.

The undisputed highlight of the 2019 event will be the grand Hamburg Cruise Days parade of cruise ships. On Saturday evening of the event, 5 cruise liners – accompanied by 20 tenders and illuminated by brilliant fireworks – will sail down the River Elbe. The parade will be led by the AIDAperla and the HADAG ferries. Other participants are the EUROPA, MSC Preziosa, Mein Schiff 4 and World Explorer. Anyone who can’t attend the event in person will be able to watch the parade on TV. Like in previous years, NDR, a public radio and television broadcaster, will report live from the port.

New fabulous show on Friday evening

On Friday evening of the event, the organisers plan to stage a fabulous show that is also a premiere. For the first time, visitors will experience a spectacular light and laser show featuring pyrotechnical effects and spherical sounds that optically connect the River Elbe, the ships mooring in the port and the port’s contours to form a whole. “In the past years, the Friday-night fireworks have always been a special highlight,” says Uwe Bergmann, the organiser. “The new show will make the event’s kick-off night even more exciting for the audience. It will certainly produce spectacular images of the port.”

Onshore activities, too, will offer plenty of variety and new things. Besides the cruise lines’ presentations, in 2019 visitors can look forward to an array of different “theme islands” along the event’s street fair route that runs from the HafenCity cruise centre to the Altona cruise centre.

New impetus for the industry: Business Deck

The strategic decision to bundle the Hamburg Cruise Days, a spectators’ event, together with international cruise industry events such as Seatrade Europe, a major European trade event, has proven successful in 2015 and 2017 and strengthened Hamburg as a centre of competence for the international cruise industry. This will be built on and advanced in 2019 with the introduction of the “Business Deck”, a new expert workshop format. Hamburg Cruise Days aims to set its own technical direction and give impetus for the future of cruise shipping. The first Business Deck workshop will be held on 13 September 2019. Hamburg Cruise Days managed to commit EBC Hochschule Hamburg, a renowned university of applied sciences, as a scientific partner. “The Business Deck workshop is an inspiring platform established to foster industry dialogue,” organiser Katja Derow explains the new concept. “Our aim is to initiate discussions about the challenges facing the industry, develop solution approaches across borders and provide impetus. An international, diverse and carefully chosen mix of attendees will give the workshop greater weight and greater impact.”

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