Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

4 8 MARKETWATCH together to find creative solutions to the myriad challenges and made it happen.” Inchcape provided port agency services that included arranging technical and administrative clearances for the vessels to arrive at port, dealing with port authorities, handling customs and immigration issues, and ensuring quality, health, safety, security and environment (QHSSE) standards were met both for the ships and those onboard. The company also helped to coordinate essential services for the ship such as provisions, water supply, waste disposal – a big environmental issue given this was a climate conference – and safe transport around the port, while keeping track of vendor costs for disbursement accounts. L&K had enlisted Inchcape to screen and recommend possible ports in and around Glasgow while it drew up an inventory of potential vessels to recommend for charter, initially contracting the Europa about six weeks ahead of the event. But L&K was left waiting for a decision by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on how many ships would be required right up until the last minute, mainly because hotels in Glasgow that had been requisitioned for Covid-19 quarantine cases suddenly became available for conference delegates. This gave the company only two weeks to secure the second vessel, Romantika, which was diverted to Glasgow from its route from Morocco to Estonia once the charter contract was signed. This required Inchcape to turn around regulatory clearances for the ship and outfit the port in days. “This put pressure on all of us, including the government suppliers who had chartered the ship, Inchcape and L&K, to gain clearances, get the crew flown in, procure provisions locally, get gangways in place and organise port facilities,” said Joyce Landry, chief executive at L&K. The vessels, one chartered by a security firm and the other by an events company, were each docked at ports 15 miles apart, with Romantika tied up at King George V (KGV) dock in Glasgow and Silja Europa at Inchgreen port in Greenock, which posed another logistical headache. KGV is a commercial port that is mainly equipped for handling cargo, not cruise passengers, while Inchgreen is a now-derelict cargo port, which meant both had to be rapidly repurposed by Inchcape. This involved clearing waste, setting up marquees as makeshift passenger terminals for security purposes, installing gangways, arranging shuttle transport and organising parking facilities. “The fundamental challenge was that the L&K – Inchcape team had to invent these facilities as an overlay in a very short time frame,” said Holmes. Then the plate-spinning started. Firstly, there was no laundry service onboard the ships, so this had to be outsourced locally, resulting in regular truck arrivals to load laundry by crane on and off the vessels. Then it was found the basic gangways firstly had to be adapted for passengers The team working on the logistics operation, which required the repurposing of the King George V dock