MIAMI BEACH — If the cruise industry can figure out how to survive a pandemic, it can solve the problems necessary to increase the industry’s environmental sustainability.
That was the dominant message during the Seatrade Cruise Global conference keynote and state of the industry panel on Tuesday, where cruise line CEOs and industry leaders highlighted their environmental responsibility. as they tried to put the pandemic in the past.
“In the years to come, we will be judged by what we do when it comes to sustainability,” CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said in her speech to a convention hall of hundreds of industry professionals. cruise industry.
While sustainability was an ongoing conversation before the pandemic, it was the main focus of the conference keynote. According to Craighead, CLIA ocean cruise line members are pursuing a goal of net-zero carbon cruising by 2050, a bigger increase than the association’s previous commitment to pursue carbon neutrality by the same time frame.
Carbon neutral means that carbon emissions are offset in other ways for a net neutral impact. Net-zero means no carbon is emitted.
Craighead also said all member cruise lines will be equipped to connect to shore electrical installations in ports by 2035.
Cruise CEOs speak out on sustainability
The topic of environmental sustainability struck a chord with a panel of cruise line executives who said they had worked to reduce their environmental footprint.
“It’s as high a priority as it gets,” Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, said during a panel discussion after Craighead’s keynote. He said each class of ship produced by the company was 20% more efficient than the previous class.
Carnival Corporation’s fleets peaked in outbound emissions in 2011, said company CEO Arnold Donald, who since January has also held the title of chief climate officer. Vessel capacity has increased by around 45% since then, but the company has fewer emissions, he said, due to the replacement of older vessels with new ones equipped with more efficient technologies. The company will have six vessels powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the end of 2022.
“We’re on a tough march to get to zero emissions,” Donald said.
However, some technologies that allow cruise passengers to achieve net-zero emissions have yet to materialize, said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group.
The industry will continue to invest in technologies to help cruise lines meet these zero emissions goals, he said, citing LNG, fuel cells, green hydrogen and other fuels and technologies.
“LNG-powered cruise ships are already a reality,” Vago said. “As soon as suppliers are ready to replace fossil LNG with bio and synthetic forms, [cruise ships] would be able to operate with zero emissions.”
Others are also ready to receive shore power at ports to minimize emissions, he added.
“The cruise industry is ready to connect,” Vago said.