Vancouver Planning Simulation for Return

Queen Elizabeth in Vancouver

The Port of Vancouver has a simulation program that enables it to see how different variables may affect the flow of passengers and luggage throughout Canada Place, its cruise terminal facility.

“Planning for the return to cruising, we are able to look at simulations of how such considerations as social distancing will be affecting us, getting a better sense of how best to move people from one point to the other at Canada Place,” noted Mandy Chan, manager of cruise services.

Infrastructure improvements have been ongoing for a number of years, she added, with several projects coming to fruition last year in anticipation of a record 2020 season following a stellar 2019.

Chan said that over the last year, the port has installed additional passport kiosks, retrofitted for fingerprinting to process passengers faster, and added more than 40 check-in counters.

Other enhancements include wayfinding signage with dynamic messaging, reducing the need for face-to-face contact between passengers and staff. Extra WiFi access points have also been added, which will also assist ground transportation handling, she said, in anticipation of increased use of Uber and ride shares.

“We have also taken over a 5,000 square foot space in the center of the building that was used by our Canada Border Services Agency. The space has been reconfigured to allow more space for passengers waiting and baggage laydown. The agency has moved to another space.

“While spreading out our services at Canada Place, we have increased our vertical lift ability, with the installation of more elevators and escalators throughout the building.”

Meanwhile, Chan told Cruise Industry News in November that the port was waiting for directions from Transport Canada, which will ultimately decide on protocol recommendations being submitted by the Association of Canadian Port Authorities.

“At this point, we can only anticipate that there are going to be some additional measures that have to be taken, but we do not know what they will be. We are waiting for more guidance as things develop.”

In 2019, Vancouver hosted nearly 1.1 million passengers on 288 calls, a record for Canada Place and just shy of the all-time record set in 2002, when the port had two terminal facilities.

While Canada Place can accommodate more cruise traffic, there are plans to address larger ships coming to Vancouver with a potential new terminal outside of the Lions Gate bridge.

“We want to be ready for those vessels when they come,” Chan added. “We are working towards that, but right now with COVID-19, the pressure is not as immediate as it was last year. Now, everyone is focused on 2021.”

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge that many industries are having to face. However, one of the greatest things I have learned through this adversity is the loyalty to the cruise market. I think cruise will come back strong. The efforts by the industry associations, the work that the cruise lines are doing, the methodical and measured approaches everybody is taking right now, to build that confidence back up, will result in a healthy return of cruising.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2020-2021

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