Technological innovation and infrastructure development: these are the two key programme guidelines for the Venice cruise terminal for 2013, set to be a year packed with new developments that Venezia Terminal Passeggeri will be illustrating to operators present at Sea Trade Miami (11-14 March 2013), the benchmark international convention for the cruise sector.
“Venice is the leading European homeport. We ended 2012 with an impressive performance, and forecasts for this year indicate a rise of 2.5%, for a total of 1,820,000 cruise passengers – notes Sandro Trevisanato, President of Venezia Terminal Passeggeri, the company that since 1997 has been promoting and developing passenger traffic activities in the Port of Venice. In order to meet the significant challenges that lie ahead in the coming years, we have set out an important infrastructure development plan that will bring the total indoor surface area of the terminal buildings to 70,000 m2. The appeal of the name of Venice is not enough to keep us in the top spot, and we must be able to offer tourists who choose to sail on a cruise from Venice a terminal that offers an increasingly higher level of services”.
COMPANIES AND SHIPS DEPLOYED
Venice’s vocation as a homeport remains valid, as a result of its fortunate position south of Danubian Europe (Mitteleuropa) – a crossroads between East and West, between north and South -, well served both by the motorway network and by the nearby Marco Polo International Airport. The client portfolio for the 2013 season comprises 49 leading cruise companies, 31 of which are European (63% of the total), 16 American, one Japanese and one Israeli. Four of these are companies that will be arriving in Venice for the first time, totalling 13 calls: Disney Cruise Line, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Premier Cruises, TUI UK (Thomson Cruises). The ships deployed will be 89, seven of which will be calling in the lagoon for the first time: Carnival Destiny (to be re-named Carnival Sunshine following refurbishment), Carnival Legend, Disney Magic, Grand Holiday, Le Soleal, MSC Fantasia and Thomson Dream. MSC Crociere, Costa Crociere, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises will once more be the main clients of the Port of Venice. Worth noting is the increase in operations in Venice on the part of Aida Cruises, the German brand of Costa Crociere, which is set to almost triple the offer of cruises departing from Venice (18 calls as compared to seven in 2012). Disney Cruise Line, a US company with quality standards that are among the highest in the sector, will be calling in Venice this year and in 2014 will make Venice its homeport for three calls during the summer. Performance forecasts for North American companies appear largely stable, with 670 thousand passengers expected, accounting for 37% of total traffic.
INFRASTRUCTURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT
As regards safety and technologies to improve the management of passenger flows, VTP has two important new developments in store for April 2013. Set to become operative at the Tagliamento Quay is the new SBB (Ship Boarding Bridge): an innovative mobile bridge that will allow passengers to board and disembark from cruise ships using two covered longitudinal bridges that can be tilted to bridge the gap between the departure floor of the terminal – generally higher up than the quay – and the boarding bridge of the ship. The compact size on the side facing out to sea will allow for connection with new-generation ships equipped with tenders outside the broadside, leaving the quay free for logistics operations. In order to optimise the service also for the ships in the second line, the connection has been extended for a further 146 metres, allowing the walkways to be used on the whole of the quay. Set to be installed on the Isonzo Quay is a new fixed, covered walkway, the protective glass of which will be used to power a photovoltaic plant, helping to make the terminal increasingly eco-sustainable. A further innovative development is the project to allow passengers to reclaim their luggage in each of the terminals rather than in the central technical structure, with a view to rationalising and speeding up passenger traffic flows.
As regards infrastructure development, work is soon to start on the renovation of building 109/110 for cruise purposes. The building, originally constructed in 1931 to store cotton and hitherto used simply as a warehouse, covers a surface area of 14,000 m2, with a height of 12 metres. The renovation work will guarantee a further independent passenger station on the Tagliamento quay, in order to provide a smoother service to two ships berthed at the same time, opposite Terminal 107/108 and the renovated Terminal 109/110 respectively. During 2012, important work was carried out to redevelop and renovate the entrance to the Marittima area, including the new parking area 5, with 450 car spaces, which brings the total number in the area to 2080 and is located next to the People Mover, the raised monorail that in just 3 minutes takes travellers from the Passenger Port to the historic centre of Venice (car terminal and railway station), offering an efficient response to mobility demands and catering to the needs of international visitors. This will give added value to a terminal that is among the most accessible on the international scene, thanks to its close proximity to Marco Polo international airport.
A NETWORK OF PORTS
The development of the cruise industry in the Adriatic is undoubtedly linked to the success of Venice, the leading cruise destination in the Mediterranean. The outstandingly efficient management of the passenger terminal, the development of environmental sustainability projects and the application of technological innovation to the segment are a model to emulate for all ports in the Adriatic.
“Our know-how and the improvement in performance have not gone unnoticed by the leading international players in the sector, – notesTrevisanato – and it is no coincidence that we have been asked to join forces with a number of groups of operators and institutions in managing a number of strategic cruise ports in the Mediterranean. In chronological order, we have succeeded in entering into the management of the ports of Ravenna, Catania, Cagliari and, most recently, Brindisi, while we are currently involved – along with a number of leading Turkish firms – in studying a project for the planning of and investment in a new cruise passenger terminal in Istanbul“.
Ravenna. Since 2010 VTP has been a shareholder of Ravenna Terminal Passeggeri, the company that manages Ravenna Cruise Terminal, through which over 100,000 passengers passed in 2012 thanks to 17 shipping companies that chose the port with 21 different ships. Significant new developments are in store for the immediate future: the end of April will see the completion of the first phase of the work on the seabeds of the northern outer port and the cruise pier, which will bring the whole turning basin to a depth of over 10 m. The second phase, aimed at improving also the northern part of the basin and dock, will involve the excavation of about 100,000 m3, and will be completed in January/February 2014. Shortly, by the start of the cruise season, there will be a reorganisation of the road system for access to the cruise terminal, with new signs and smoother, safer routes. In the medium term, there will be the construction (currently pending authorisation), of the new terminal, measuring around 4000 m2, equipped with large service areas, parking areas and bio-architectures, which will also run on renewable energies, as well as the third mooring in the southern part of the basin.
Catania. The season has been positive for Catania Cruise Terminal, the company that manages the cruise terminal of Catania, which welcomed over 250,000 cruise passengers last year, up 20% on 2011. This success is mainly attributable to the “Vecchia Dogana”, the structure where welcoming and homeport activities are carried out, housed in a striking renovated 19th-century building with a shopping gallery inside. In order to offer an increasingly high-quality welcome, a significant overhaul has been planned of both the appearance and functions of the terminal, including significant work on the pedestrian route that links the terminal to the Vecchia Dogana building by means of a covered walkway, made using solar panels. In addition, the successful crew service operation has equipped the terminal with a services centre exclusively reserved for the crews, who, just steps away from the ship, are able to purchase food and personal care treatments and products. This is work that was virtually imperative, given the increase in traffic through a port that in 2014 is set to welcome new flagships of the calibre of Disney Cruise Line.
Cagliari. Cagliari Cruise Port, set up in 2012, is the company that – in close collaboration with the Port Authority of Cagliari – promotes and boosts cruise traffic in the Port of Cagliari. The cruise season – which thanks to the mild climate is able to last all year round – began in January, with a total of seventy calls scheduled for 2013. The Cruise Terminal operates on the Rinascita Pier, with two quays, West (480 m) and East (450 m), able to accommodate latest-generation ships. The first phase, during which welcoming and check-in operations are carried out in a series of tensile structures and gazebos, will be followed, by the end of 2014, by the construction of a terminal designed to cope with the growing volumes of passenger traffic. Also active from the beginning of the cruise season is a new shuttle service, with urban-type buses dedicated to cruise passenger flows, and due to be created shortly is a covered pedestrian walkway to link the terminal with the city centre.
Brindisi. Since 2012, VTP has been part of the shareholding structure of Brindisi Cruise Port, the company in charge of managing and promoting passenger traffic in Brindisi, a port with quays of sufficient length and draught to accommodate latest-generation ships and located in a strategic position along the Northern-Southern Adriatic and Eastern-Western Mediterranean axes, offering excellent access to one of the areas in southern Italy of greatest importance for the tourist industry. In collaboration with the local Port Authority, a plan has been drawn up for a structure designed to welcome tourists, which will be put out for tender during the year and will also comprise work on the system of access to improve the efficiency of traffic towards the destinations of the excursions. With regard to traffic, the number of calls in 2012 – about 50 – is, at a conservative estimate, set to double by the end of 2014.