A new cruise model is born in Venice where value combines sustainability

Di Blasio: “The goal is to be equipped to host 1 million cruise passengers in Venice and Chioggia in 2027”

The global cruise industry is experiencing a phase of great transformation towards business models focused on environmental sustainability, socially responsible and attentive to building a relationship of cultural and experiential integration and interaction with local communities. Venice has been at the forefront of this transformation since, last year, Law Decree 103/21 introduced measures specifically dedicated to safeguarding Venice and its Lagoon, with the interdiction for “white ships” to pass through the Canale della Giudecca and with the appointment by the Government of the President of the Lagoon Port System Authority as Extraordinary Commissioner for cruises, so that he would accompany this evolution with punctual and timely infrastructural, accessory and maintenance interventions.

In the period November 2021-November 2022, the commissioner’s activity achieved all the objectives set by the law, leading to the identification, adaptation and commissioning of temporary berths for larger tonnage vessels in Porto Marghera (Liguria and Lombardy quays ), favoring the dual use of the Fusina ro-ro terminal, working with the terminal operators of the commercial port to identify operating methods that were both totally safe for passengers and as least intrusive as possible for cargo traffic and collaborating with the Prefecture and with all the competent law enforcement agencies for the planning and safe management of ship berths. At the same time, an experiment has been launched for small ships which have called for the first time and with great success at the port of Chioggia. All of this guaranteed over 200 calls of cruise ships in the lagoon port system and the transit of around 240,000 passengers in 2022.

The theme of environmental sustainability is at the heart of the Channeling the Green deal for Venice project, an innovative study relating to nautical accessibility along the main entrance channel to the port infrastructures: the study, which is part of the preparatory activities for the creation of the new cruise industry (but not only), has been entrusted to the Danish Hydraulic Institute and will make it possible to identify the actions to be taken to improve the navigability of the main port arteries, the Malamocco-Marghera canal in primis, taking care to minimize the impact on the environment and at the same time raising the safety conditions of navigation along the canals.

Venice, underlined the Extraordinary Commissioner Fulvio Lino Di Blasio, “must remain the reference cruise homeport of the Adriatic and one of the major tourist ports in the Mediterranean, on whose restart depends the maintenance of the excellence of the cruise sector also in other important Adriatic ports. To achieve this objective, alongside the construction of the works indicated by the Government between now and 2026 – first of all the passenger station in Porto Marghera located on the north bank of the North Canal and the related two approaches – we are working, always with the utmost attention to the exceptional environmental context in which we find ourselves, to enhance the Marittima and to reposition the Clodiense port in synergy with the Venetian one”.

“It is a long and detailed planned process that sees us engaged in constant sharing of the objectives and actions to be undertaken with all the institutions involved – the national government, the Veneto Region, the Prefecture, the Municipality of Venice and the Municipality of Chioggia and their mayors, Port Authorities, Law Enforcement, Border Police, Fire Brigade, Customs and Monopolies Agency, Interregional Superintendency for Public Works, Ulss 3, Usmaf – and with Venezia Terminal Passeggeri, concessionary company of the cruise terminal, shipping agents , the other terminals involved, the technical-nautical services and in general with the whole port community. Already next year we will be able to deliver the first temporary berth on the North Channel and start important intervention projects for the improvement of nautical accessibility. our calculations, continuing on the path established by the time schedule and with full operation of all berths, by By 2027 we will be able to reach a capacity capable of hosting 1 million cruise passengers, 90% of whom in homeport mode”, underlines Di Blasio.

The Maritime Director of Veneto, Amm. Isp. Piero Pellizzari highlighted how the Channeling study will be placed at the basis of the risk analysis, as a support for the assessments of the Maritime Authority regarding safe nautical accessibility in the port maritime channels. The data that will derive from the study will be used for a possible update of the current ordinances in force, considering the need to guarantee the greatest possible usability of the port within 24 hours for each type of ship, also as an element of mitigation of the effects caused activation of the MoSE system.

In thanking the President and Extraordinary Commissioner Fulvio Lino Di Blasio, the President and CEO of Venice Terminal Passeggeri Fabrizio Spagna underlined “there is no doubt that decree 103/2021 has had clear economic and operational impacts on the Vtp business, which each case considered if we want to talk about the future of cruises in Venice today. A future therefore inextricably linked to the creation and availability of infrastructures for the widespread berths in Marghera, Fusina and Chioggia, as well as full nautical accessibility of the port”.

From the point of view of traffic and numbers, he notes, “it won’t be a return to the past, replicating a cruise model that has had its day, but we have the opportunity to outline a new one based on sustainability and perfect integration with the territory, which is once again an example for the whole world. A new formula that is compatible with the city and the territory. Compatible means respectful of the environment and the landscape and also respectful of the work, of the professionalism of the people who have made unique Venice as the first home port in the Mediterranean and which can contribute to the growth of the territory with an economy capable of generating quality tourism”.

In this context, he underlines, “it is crucial that the new cruise structure ensures the mooring of ships in the home port, overcoming the so-called ‘Redeemer mode’ and is compatible with the city thanks to new development models that are precisely synergistic with the tourist offer not only of Venice but of the entire regional territory.Together with the commissioner structure and with the support of the Government we aim to create a system and collaborate to have a common vision on how to rebuild the cruise offer for Venice and therefore the offer that VTP can offer to companies in order to better “organise” their presence and their return to Venice”.