Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

4 6 Held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, the global COP26 conference was the stage for big decisions on the climate and also the scene of dramatic protests. But behind the scenes a very different drama played out as two cruise ships were drafted in to house essential workers to keep the show rolling, with Inchcape Shipping Services as the main support act. Around 25,000 delegates from over 190 countries descended on Glasgow for the massive UN climate conference, which left hotel capacity sold out in the Scottish city and no room for thousands of security, staging and audio-visual personnel vital to the running of the two-week event. Vessel charter sourcing and logistics specialist Landry and Kling (L&K), which earlier this year forged a port agency partnership with Inchcape, was called upon by conference organisers to lead vessel charters to provide auxiliary accommodation for the workforce. Two ro-ro cruise ferries, Silja Europa and Tallink Romantika owned by Estonia-based Tallink Grupp that normally operate on Baltic Sea routes, were chartered to serve as floating hotels with cabin capacity and catering for a total of more than 2,000 personnel. L&K both acted as broker for the charters and coordinated all logistical services for the port stays through its onsite management team working hand-inglove with Inchcape. But that was not the end of the story. Far from it, as the combined team of L&K and Inchcape had to navigate a series of daunting logistical challenges both in the run-up to and during the event that put their troubleshooting skills to the test and required them to resolve multiple issues on the fly. Time pressure, port revamps, transport issues, gangway trouble, a Covid-19 outbreak, a laundry conundrum, cultural and catering issues, security concerns and the volatile Scottish weather converged to create a perfect storm for the 20-strong team. “This was the first cruise charter project under our partnership with L&K and was probably the biggest ticket of the year to make our debut,” said Grant Holmes, global sector head for the cruise industry at Inchcape. “It also proved to be a great acid test of the relationship as Inchcape had to show its mettle under a challenging environment to support L&K that led the charter. “If any one part of the port operations had failed, it could have ended in disaster. But, against all odds, both sides pulled Partners successfully navigated complex logistical challenges to provide floating hotels for major global climate conference in their first joint charter project High winds and high drama at COP26 for Landry & Kling and Inchcape MARKETWATCH