Building the foundation for sustainable growth

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has prioritised collaboration as it plans for a greener future

Building the foundation for sustainable growth
Vancouver is the only homeport to offer one-way and roundtrip itineraries through Canada’s scenic Inside Passage

By Alex Smith |

The 2022 season marked a cruise comeback for Port of Vancouver, which welcomed a record number of ship visits after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

There were 307 cruise ship visits last year, which represented a six per cent increase compared to 2019. This growth highlights the industry’s confidence in the market for cruises from Vancouver, which is the only homeport to offer one-way and roundtrip itineraries through Canada’s scenic Inside Passage and has welcomed cruise passengers for more than 40 years. 

The safe return of cruising was made possible by collaboration between the government, cruise lines and industry partners. As pandemic restrictions continued to ease last year and people slowly returned to pre-pandemic travel habits, cruise ship occupancy levels gradually increased to an average of approximately 70 per cent over the season, peaking at 76 per cent over the summer. Overall, around 815,000 passengers visited Vancouver in 2022 compared to 1.1 million in 2019. Based on preliminary bookings, and if the industry operates in line with normal capacities, Vancouver could have a record number of ships and passengers during the 2023 season. 

Collaboration is also laying the foundation for sustainable growth in the future. Since 2009, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the federal agency mandated to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, has been encouraging cruise ships to connect to shore power. This would enable ships to shut down their diesel-powered auxiliary engines and plug into clean hydro-electric power. Last year, cruise ships connected to shore power at the Canada Place cruise terminal helped to reduce 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, up from 3,626 tonnes in 2019.  

In 2022, the port authority also joined global cruise lines, the Port of Seattle, the City and Borough of Juneau, and other industry partners to sign a commitment to explore the feasibility of the world’s first cruise-led ‘green corridor’. This collaborative effort aims to support decarbonisation efforts in the region and aligns with the port authority’s vision for the Port of Vancouver to be the world’s most sustainable port. 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door. 

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