Holland America's ms Amsterdam will be the first cruise ship of the 2010 cruise season to call at Port Metro Vancouver when it arrives on April 25, and the first of 58 scheduled calls expected to connect to the Port's new shore power system. The ship will arrive in Vancouver after sailing from Petropavlovsk, Russia as part of a 114-day Grand World voyage.
"We're excited to kick off our cruise season with a shore power enabled ship, as this year will mark the first full year of operation for our two new shore power connections at Canada Place," said Port Metro Vancouver's President and CEO, Robin Silvester. "There are only three such systems in the world, which allow cruise ships to connect to the local electrical grid and shut off their diesel engines, greatly reducing their impact on the region's environment."
The system, completed in 2009, is a $9-million initiative by the Government of Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, BC Hydro and Port Metro Vancouver which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vancouver by up to 3000 tonnes/year. It was also a key component in Port Metro Vancouver's Air Action Program, which was recognized recently with an ecoFREIGHT Sustainable Transportation Award at Globe 2010, an international conference focussed on environmental issues.
"Congratulations to Port Metro Vancouver for being first in Canada to bring cleaner, greener electric power to ships at its terminal," said Hon. Shirley Bond, British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "The Province is proud to have been a partner in this project, which will greatly improve local air quality and further our plan to eliminate one third of B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020."
Despite forecasting declines this year to just under 600,000 passengers and 179 ship calls from 898,473 passenger and 256 ship calls last year, Port Metro Vancouver remains highly optimistic about its future cruise business. The decrease in 2010 is seen as an industry reaction to Alaska's restrictive tax and regulatory environment - which has recently been largely overturned by their House of Representatives and their state Senate - coupled with last year's downturn in the global economy.
The Port and its cruise industry stakeholders are confident that the Vancouver cruise product, coupled with environmental sustainability initiatives such as shore power, and convenient access between Canada Place and Vancouver International Airport via Vancouver's new Canada Line rapid transit system, will serve to keep Vancouver an attractive and competitive destination for the cruise industry.
Disney Cruise Line has already announced that they will home port Disney Wonder in Vancouver in 2011, and industry stakeholders are delighted that the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) cruise3sixty 2010 trade show will be held in Vancouver in June, marking the first time in its history the event has been held outside of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The sold-out trade show is being hosted by Port Metro Vancouver, Tourism Vancouver, Tourism BC and the Vancouver Airport Authority. It will bring 1400 registered cruise lines and travel industry delegates to the city, helping to raise awareness of Vancouver as a cruise home port.
Port Metro Vancouver is Canada's largest and North America's most diversified port, trading $75 billion in goods with more than 160 trading economies annually. Each cruise ship call in Vancouver contributes approximately $2 million to the local economy.