Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

1 0 1 Holland Norway Lines has chartered Tallink Grupp’s Romantika to offer a new thrice-weekly service between Eemshaven, Netherlands, and Kristiansand, Norway, in April 2022 open up between Norway and the Netherlands as Holland Norway Lines begins its three weekly sailings between Eemshaven and Kristiansand. The line’s cruise-ferry Romantika, chartered from Tallink, offers this convenience to the driver who otherwise would have been flogging down European Route 3 taking in Sweden, Denmark and Germany en route to Holland. Holland Norway Lines, which has big ambitions of evolving from a single ship start-up to an operator offering both passenger and freight space, also cites the rail connections at each end of the sea passage as an advantage. Certainly, freight will be crucial if it is to operate year-round services, but this avoidance of land borders and any sort of delay is a useful incentive. This convenience factor has been the driver of several successful routes which have opened up between the Republic of Ireland and Europe post Brexit, allowing passengers to avoid any delays in the transit through UK. Direct sailings from the UK to North Spanish ports have also maintained their freight levels and forward bookings indicate strong passenger growth in the coming season. There is also an increased willingness among ferry operators to look more constructively at new routes that have the potential to grow into something truly viable. Ports and local municipalities show greater interest in supporting new routes and are willing to assist with the business of promotion and the provision of shore facilities. New routes in the Baltic and North Sea are examples of a growing confidence in the ferry as a local growth multiplier. In addition, the ferry sector has clearly identified a demand among its potential clientele for greater sustainability in their travel options, something which was reinforced by the COP26 climate change conference in November 2021. Pressure on ferry ports to provide electric power on the berth is increasing, from both the public, which is more conscious than ever of the need for clean air, and ship operators. It is no coincidence that the owners of many of the ferries that are now on order or coming into service loudly proclaim their green credentials to the public. Ferries like P&O’s new big double-enders for the DoverCalais route between England and France will have batteries big enough to provide carbon-free operations when manoeuvring and berthed. The emergence of LNG or methanol as credible fuels for ferry operation, along with smaller hybrid ships are a positive sign that the sector is responding to public demand; and that matters. CFR “There is clearly an opportunity for operators to capitalise on their advantages of ferry travel post pandemic” Photo: Tallink Grupp