Study commissioned into sustainable future of cruise industry

Study commissioned into sustainable future of cruise industry

Outcome to shape industry's approach 'for decades'

Research aimed at steering the cruise sector towards a sustainable future has been commissioned by trade body Clia. The aim is to map out real-time energy needs, infrastructure and regulations with “foresight scenarios” extending into 2050.

The global investment plan study is claimed to represent a “major step” in the cruise industry’s commitment to align with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2030 and 2050 environmental goals.

News of the study came as global cruise leaders urged governments to act to increase the production of sustainable marine fuels. 

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Royal Caribbean Group president and chef executive Jason Liberty, global chair of Clia, said: “The cruise industry is making enormous investments to lay the foundation for a future of low-to-zero carbon fuels. Collaboration with our industry’s global leaders and change-makers is critical to ensure that sustainable marine fuels are available, affordable, and scalable. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships with ports, governments, and communities to fully realise the green transition of the maritime sector.” 

The study will cover all areas of the world outside Europe and focus on a “holistic view” of the cruise industry’s infrastructure and regulatory needs. It aims to provide clarity on the current status and future developments in fuel infrastructure and deployment over the next five to 10 years and is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2025.

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Emphasis will be placed on the impact of itineraries and operations of cruise ships, considering various energy carriers both in navigation and at port and the research is to be conducted by Italian marine engineering and consultancy firm Rina.

It will include:

  • Analysis of global cruise market itineraries, fuel choices, and propulsion options
  • Evaluation of worldwide fuel, bunkering, and onshore power infrastructure
  • Study of international and local greenhouse gas regulatory frameworks and their impact on ship design and operations
  • Estimation of the volume of energy carriers required to meet decarbonisation targets
  • Estimation of locations and size of infrastructure to support cruise itineraries and technologies, considering global funding and investment opportunities

Rina said: “The outcomes of this study are expected to shape the cruise industry’s approach to sustainability for decades to come, setting a benchmark for environmental stewardship in the maritime sector.”

Clia estimates that there are 55 cruise ships on order, representing an investment of €33.9 billion (US$37.1 billion) globally over the next five years. Of these new ships, 36 will be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) and seven will be methanol-ready or methanol capable, and more than 70% of the Clia-member cruise line fleet will have shoreside power capability by 2028.


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