Turning the tide on sustainable cruising

Global Ports Holding calls upon the industry to work together to achieve carbon-neutral cruising by 2050

Turning the tide on sustainable cruising

Global Ports Holding

Global Ports Holding took over Nassau Cruise Port in the Caribbean in 2019

By Guest |

Responsible tourism is a major concern for the cruise industry; operators and ports and destinations are pursuing a more efficient, sustainable future with the goal of achieving net-carbon-neutral cruising by 2050, in accordance with the European Union’s target. Global Ports Holding (GPH) is ready to play its part. 

Following the acquisition of Ege Port Kuşadası in Turkey, Global Ports Holding was established in 2004. As the world’s largest cruise port operator, we now operate 30 cruise ports in 17 countries, handling over 20 million passengers annually. Our first major expansion was into the Mediterranean in 2013 with the acquisition of the cruise ports in Barcelona and Malaga in Spain. We expanded further in 2019 with our first foray in the Caribbean by acquiring Antigua Cruise Port and subsequently Nassau Cruise Port.  

Everytime we acquire a new port, we roll out GPH’s proprietary operating model, which includes not only our codes and policies but also our best practices, all dedicated to providing passengers and crew with a flawless experience. We study and understand the passenger journey, identifying pain points, and developing our services accordingly. Our regional set-up enables ports to support one another in every way, from day-to-day operations to marketing and other initiatives.  

We understand that although our legal landlord is often the country’s government, our true landlord is the people of the port’s country. This is why we strive to become partners with them, working in collaboration with, and contributing to, the surrounding area and its people.  

Striving for a more sustainable cruising future is no different; it requires collaboration and commitment from everyone involved.  

At GPH, we have several green initiatives to honour our sustainability commitment. Our current ports are being transformed and all new port terminals are being constructed to be self-sufficient and using green energy. The new terminal of Tarragona Cruise Port in Spain, which is due for inauguration in June 2024, boasts numerous environmentally friendly technologies, from renewable energy to solutions enabling the efficient management of natural resources. 

We have also integrated several substantial eco-friendly design elements into our $300 million transformational project at Nassau Cruise Port in The Bahamas, which was inaugurated last May. The port features solar power, LED lighting, and low water usage systems, as well as recycling facilities and processes to remove waste from the harbour waters every day. The port also plans to install shore power connectivity for cruise ships by 2025, in a project led by the country’s minister of energy and transport. 

As we champion green initiatives, we collaborate closely with local authorities to implement innovative solutions such as LNG adoption and shore power. Valletta Cruise Port is playing a major role as the first port in the Med to provide shore power. We are also completing shore power studies for our Turkish cruise ports, where we will also install solar panels by the end of 2024 that will ensure the terminals are self-sufficient. 

Our €40 million ($45.5 million) investment into three ports in the Canary Islands has begun, with a sustainable terminal building with solar panels, as well as infrastructure improvement with low carbon-footprint recycled materials at Las Palmas Cruise Port. 

The concept of environmentally friendly cruising can seem implausible although I believe the industry has taken steps more than any other industry, from automakers to airlines and is on track to be carbon neutral ahead of any transport industry. By working together, we can make the industry cleaner and greener, and we can achieve net carbon-neutral cruising by 2050, possibly even earlier.  

Mehmet Kutman is chairman and CEO of Global Ports Holding.

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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