Malta’s Valletta Cruise Port celebrated a major environmental milestone when it provided shore power connectivity to a cruise ship for the first time.
The port’s five cruise ship piers now offer the shore-side electrical service to cruise ships equipped to use it, allowing the destination to eliminate engine emissions from docked ships.
Global Ports Holding (GPH), the operator of Valletta Cruise Port, has announced that the port completed its first integration of cruise ship shore power. Viking’s Viking Saturn was the first ship to hook into the Onshore Power Supply (OPS) on December 1, 2023, followed the next day by sister ship Viking Venus.
Both ships were simultaneously powered by the OPS, an environmental sustainability project that is a key part of Malta’s Grand Harbour Clean Air Project. The shore-side power capability is the first for the GPH network, which manages some 30 ports across the globe.
“This accomplishment underscores our unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and innovation. I extend my sincere thanks to the Maltese Government and Infrastructure Malta for their pivotal role in bringing this project to fruition. Special appreciation goes to the Valletta Cruise Port team for their persistent efforts and coordination,” said Mehmet Kutman, chairman and CEO of Global Ports Holding.
The €49.9 million ($54 million US) project was funded by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Infrastructure Malta, and Transport Malta. By providing shore-side power, cruise ships can turn off their engines while in port and continue to run hotel operations. The process virtually eliminates ship emissions.
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The Valletta Cruise Port has a record of prioritizing environmental sustainability and in 2022, was named World’s Best Cruise Terminal for Sustainability by the World Cruise Awards.
“The successful integration of shore power at Valletta Cruise Port stands as a testament to our dedication to eco-friendly initiatives. We prioritize Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations, and this achievement aligns with our commitment to advancing green energy solutions across all GPH facilities,” said Stephen Xuereb, COO of Global Ports Holding and general manager of Valletta Cruise Port.
The Maltese port is a key destination for ships sailing the Western Mediterranean. In 2022, the last year of available data, the port welcomed 283 ship calls and 530,000 cruise arrivals. In pre-pandemic 2019, it received 372 ships and 902,000 cruise arrivals.
The Valletta Cruise Port benefits from a natural deep-water harbor that enables mega-ships to call. One of the industry’s largest ships, MSC Cruises’ new MSC World Europa, called at Valletta during her inaugural voyage in April 2023. The 215,863-gross ton ship can accommodate up to 6,700 guests.
Smaller ships embrace the port, too, including upmarket line Oceania Cruises’ 1,200-guest Vista, which was christened in a gala ceremony at the Valletta Cruise Port in May 2023. Ships scheduled to call at the port in December 2023 include MSC World Europa, Viking Saturn, and luxe line Silversea Cruises’ Silver Moon.
Port manager GPH has achieved significant growth in the past few years and operates some of the world’s busiest ports, such as Nassau Cruise Port, in the Bahamas, and Barcelona, Spain.
The Nassau port recently celebrated a $300 million revitalization project. The port can now accommodate six cruise ships simultaneously, including three Oasis or Icon Class cruise ships, and has a daily passenger capacity of 30,000.
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In the last two years, GPH has secured management contracts with several key ports, and currently runs Alicante (Spain) Cruise Port; Lisbon Cruise Port; Prince Rupert Cruise Port, British Columbia; St Lucia Cruise Port; San Juan Cruise Port, Puerto Rico; Antigua Cruise Port; the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; and Taranto (Italy) Cruise Port, among others.
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