On Wednesday March 18th, Venice Passenger Terminal (VTP), presented to the international industry operators at Cruise Shipping Convention Miami – the Worldwide reference trade show for the cruise industry – , the latest developments for the forthcoming cruise season 2015.
Following the relocation of ferry traffic to the Motorways of the Sea terminal in Fusina at the end of May 2014, expectation is growing for the new Terminal 123, currently undergoing restyling with a preservation and restoration project, which will be in operation from next spring. The terminal is on one level with an area of nearly 5,000 sq.m., dedicated to embarking and disembarking operations, and is the only facility in the entire Marittima area that features its own garden ‒ complete with Mediterranean scrub ‒ to be enjoyed by the public.
“The Miami show,” explains Sandro Trevisanato, Chairman of VTP, “offers a chance to highlight the conversion to cruise use of this new terminal, completed in record time; only three months for VTP’s investment of 2m euros, including viability and tensile structures of the surrounding areas. Terminal 123 becomes an extra terminal which will serve 45 calls and represent a new step in the upgrading plan of the Marittima area that has been transformed from an obsolete commercial port into a state-of-the-art passenger terminal in the space of a few years”. In line with the plan for replacing the old central collection luggage centre, Terminal 123 will be equipped with a new tensile structure for the collection and distribution of baggage with new covered structures for baggage drop-off points at each individual terminal building, capable of speeding up operations and raising safety standards.
Trevisanato continues, “Pending the necessary overturning of the regulation based on 96,000 tons limit that was declared unlawful by Veneto Regional Administrative Court, with a new and substantiated traffic regulation, the drop in traffic has been limited compared to the numbers of the last few years in the absence of constraints. Under the voluntary agreement signed with the cruise lines for the placement of medium-sized ships in Venice, over 1.5 million passengers will be recorded in 2015 with the distinction that 91% of the traffic will be turnaround, reducing transit traffic to a residual component. This confirms the strategic character of the Port of Venice for the entire cruise system. But this centrality is endangered by the uncertainty. In fact the Croatian Ports delegates have expressed greatest worry about the future. Talking with the leading cruise companies we are now convinces that if the stalemate situation of Venice will not change soon, the Adriatic area will disappear from the main itinerary. We should like to state once again that it is urgent to enact a measure unblocking the current situation and that the regulation of the traffic should follow a qualitative criteria instead of e quantitative one, safeguarding at the same time Venice and its cruise industry excellence.”
In detail, 2015 will record 64 vessels positioned for 36 operating companies. Among the units calling for the first time are the Viking Star from Viking Ocean Cruises ‒ a ship that is currently under construction in Marghera shipyards and equipped with energy-efficient hybrid engines, and hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency ‒ Aida Vita of Aida Cruises, Celebrity Constellation of Celebrity Cruises, Ocean Dream of Pullmantur Cruises, Sea Princess of Princess Cruises and Le Lyrial of Compagnie Des Iles du Ponant.
VTP INVOLVEMENT IN THE NETWORK OF PORTS
The development of activities continues with strong commitment in cruise ports in which VTP is a shareholder. In Ravenna (Ravenna Terminal Passeggeri), work is ongoing to improve the operational level of the seabeds; setting up important dredging that will allow new depth to be achieved in the turning basin so as to enable the hosting of large ships. There are new developments relating to infrastructure for Cagliari (Cagliari Cruise Port), where 2015 will see the launch of the new cruise terminal allowing all shipping operations to be comfortably performed, offering a service of excellence to both companies and passengers. While in Catania (Catania Cruise Terminal), work to create the new dock to the west of the port is in the process of completion. This dock will serve commercial traffic including ferries and container ships, enabling port activities to become more fluid.
VTP Engineering, the technology division of Venice Passenger Terminal, presents its portfolio of products, technologies and embarking and disembarking systems used in Venice and requested by the major Italian ports, to operators from all over the World. Among these are the Multipurpose Boarding Tower (MBT) and Ship Boarding Bridge (SBB). The boarding tower is an innovative solution for the embarking and disembarking of cruise ship passengers that consists of a multifunctional mobile tower that uses lifts to connect the quayside, the terminal and the ship, whatever the height of the gangway, allowing multiple alternative routes for passengers and terminal operators and equipment. The SBB is a traditional version of a gangway. It allows cruise ship passengers to embark and disembark using two covered, inclinable, longitudinal bridges designed to compensate for the difference in height between the fixed access point of the terminal, which is higher, and the ship’s boarding deck. It features motorized wheel boxes for moving along the quayside, whereas on the sea side the structure is designed to allow connection with new generation ships with outboard lifeboats.