Within the scope of the Old City Harbour development, Port of Tallinn is planning the construction of a new terminal for cruise tourists, which is to be designed with the principles of sustainability and smart solutions in mind and to transform the area that has so far been primarily meant for cruise tourists into a holistic and attractive urban space. According to Valdo Kalm, chairman of the management board of Port of Tallinn, sustainability and smart solutions for higher effectiveness have become key words in global marine transportation and in the Baltic Sea region alike.
“Being ‘green’ is not merely a fad word, but our clear business goal,” Kalm said in May during the Green Cruise Port seminar ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings and Smart Solutions’, held in the Estonian Centre of Architecture and focusing on sustainable, innovative and environmentally meaningful solutions. “In the future developments of the port, smart and environmentally friendly solutions will give us a definite competitive advantage and, consequently, contribute to success in business.”
Kalm noted that the management board of Port Tallinn would apparently introduce the proposition concerning the construction of a new cruise terminal to the supervisory board at the end of this year.
The project draws inspiration from success stories of ports in other regions as well as city architects’ recommendations on creating a combination of a well-functioning infrastructure and urban environment. “The new cruise terminal, catering for the demands of passengers and operators as well as the future trends of the global cruise business, will be environmentally compatible and full of innovative smart solutions so that the guests of Tallinn arriving by cruise ships can enjoy smooth and convenient services,” Kalm said.
“At the same time, we aim to open the cruise pier area for city residents by creating a well-planned and easily accessible urban space.” Challenge for ports: the Hamburg experience According to Sacha Rougier, the managing director of one of the Europe’s largest cruise line operators Cruise Gate Hamburg, a subsidiary of Port of Hamburg, the development of a port infrastructure with the use of smart solutions and with regard to the needs of tourists and operators will contribute to the substantial saving of energy and infrastructure use as well as the passengers’ and operators’ time.
“Ports should, on the one hand, reduce their dependence on traditional energy sources and, on the other hand, keep looking for solutions that would decrease energy consumption and expenses,” Rougier said. “From the traveller’s point of view, terminals of the future should be more compact, featuring, for example, smart check-in and smooth luggage handling in cooperation with airports and other transportation hubs as well as uniform and thereby significantly faster border crossing and customs procedures.”
According to Rougier, what cruise ship operators consider important is the capability to handle larger and larger vessels and provide more and more alternative energy sources, such as electricity or bunkering with liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Challenges for operators In his turn at the seminar, Ukko E. Metsola, vice-president of one of the world’s leading cruise operators Royal Caribbean International, noted that the solution of environmental issues (for example, vessel waste and sewage reception) and compliance with the relevant stringent requirements are becoming more and more of a challenge for ports and vessel operators.
“This is why we would like to hope that Estonia’s upcoming presidency of the European Union will be the period when the maritime regulation pertaining to the matter will be clarified, which, in 2019, will allow new ships to start visiting those ports of the Baltic Sea, considered to be an especially sensitive area, where there are no sewage reception pipelines permanently connected to the shore network, and existing ships will be able to start coming to such ports in 2021,” Metsola said.
“Providing cruise operators with a continuing opportunity to visit ports with no sewage pipelines and to dispose of sewage at the next stop if the vessel has sufficient container facilities as well as creating the appropriate compensatory mechanisms will be of use for the entire sector, including the ports of Tallinn and Helsinki, which have already made the necessary investments,” he added.
What is going to make the Baltic Sea region an even more attractive area for cruises is the opportunity to visit smaller destinations, for example, Saaremaa, in addition to large ports.
Green Cruise Port Seminar was held on 18-19 May in Tallinn, at the Estonian Centre of Architecture. The first seminar day focused on topics of smart city, smart buildings and smart terminals and the second day on more cruise specific themes.
GREEN CRUISE PORT (GCP) is a project in the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020. In GCP port authorities from around the Baltic Sea and the neighbouring North Sea are working together with other main cruise stakeholders, to make the BSR more innovative, more sustainable and better connected, from a cruise tourism perspective.
GREEN CRUISE PORT elaborates a multidimensional strategic approach for a sustainable and qualitative future development for cruise shipping in port areas.