Baltic ports get ready for the 2021 cruise season
Cruise managers from a number of Baltic ports met yesterday to exchange their experience and approach to the preparations surrounding the 2021 cruise season. Ensuring the health of the passengers and crews, as well as the implementation of all the necessary safety rules were the key items on the agenda.
Year 2020 saw the Baltic cruise ports suffer a great deal due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on passenger transport. Many ports received only a few or none calls at all. There were but a few exceptions to this rule (e.g. Kiel, Gothenburg). A complete halt of the cruise business hasn’t been witnessed in the past 30 years.
Representatives from 13 ports, including Copenhagen Malmö Port, Gdynia, Gothenburg, HaminaKotka, Helsinki, Kiel, Klaipeda, Roenne, Rostock, Riga, Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Tallinn, discussed their operational plans for the coming months. Listed below are some of the presented points:
• developing clear instructions on how to handle passengers according to the restrictions currently in force
• implementing safety rules and protocols port personnel and other involved stakeholders must adhere to during the pandemic, including virus testing procedures for passengers, temperature scanning and logistic solutions
• plans are to be made in close cooperation with the cruise lines in order to make the implementation process as smooth as possible
• all plans are to be made under the respective country’s national safety rules and approved by the responsible authorities
"Year 2020 saw the Baltic cruise ports suffer a great deal due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on passenger transport. Many ports received only a few or none calls at all."
According to cruise managers, the aforementioned approval process remains rater slow. Baltic ports urge the national authorities to actively co-operate with the industry in order to speed up the process as the cruise season is fast approaching.
Bogdan Ołdakowski, Secretary General, Baltic Ports Organization, said, “Baltic cruise ports are willing to work together in order to ensure that ports and other stakeholders involved in the cruise business comply with all mandatory procedures. In these uncertain times the return of cruise vessels and passengers to the Baltic is a common goal for every member of the Baltic cruise industry. That said, it is paramount to achieve this goal without compromising the health of the passengers and crews and to respect all safety rules.”
The Baltic Sea is one the world’s leading cruise markets, with a total number of calls in 2019 reaching 2220. Over the past ten years, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, multiple Baltic cruise ports registered very impressive growth in both the number of passengers and calls.
"Baltic cruise ports are willing to work together in order to ensure that ports and other stakeholders involved in the cruise business comply with all mandatory procedures."
As of 2019, top 10 Baltic cruise ports in terms of passenger handling, are led by Copenhagen (0.94m), Kiel (0.80m) and St. Petersburg (0.66m). On the call side of things, the top 3 sees Copenhagen once again on top (348), followed by St. Petersburg (341) and Tallinn (338). The average growth rate for the top 10’s between 2000 and 2019 was 491% for the number of passengers and 82% for the number of calls.
The BPO cruise managers decided to meet again in April 2021.