Opportunity for Bahamas to provide shore power to cruise vessels

The Bahamas has an opportunity to provide shore power for cruise vessels, but “dilapidated” electricity infrastructure and high debt are just a few factors that could hamper its development, Chief Executive Officer of Nassau Cruise Port Mike Maura Jr. said yesterday.

Maura made the remarks while part of a panel at the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Invest Sustainability Week 2022 conference in Miami, Florida.

Maura said shore power is important because it is part of the cruise industry’s wider commitment to net-zero carbon emissions, and many ships are being equipped to plug in when they dock at ports.

He added that it also presents an opportunity for economic growth and jobs.

However, he said the move to develop shore power will likely have to come through a strategic partnership that includes the private sector and the government.

“The better and more effective we are in supporting the industry in its net-zero initiative, the better we’re gonna be from a competitive perspective, competing with other parts of the world, because these ships are going to deploy where they can satisfy and meet the commitments that they’re making, both financial and environmental,” said Maura.

“There are opportunities in the fact that the industry has made a commitment to sustainability, and as a result, it’s going to be looking and searching for opportunities in these destinations to reduce their environmental impact on the community.

“And, so, where the community can reach out, and like I mentioned, provide waste-to-energy; where the community can provide shore power; where the industry can assist with provisioning, ship maintenance and so forth; these are all going to be opportunities that exist that will help support our local economies.”

Maura contended that The Bahamas and other cruise lines must be ready to provision cruise lines, which continue to roll out new cruise ships that are powered by sources other than fossil fuels and have more and more passenger capacity.

He also talked about ports providing recycling and possibly waste-to-energy solutions, explaining that both cruise lines and passengers will begin to heavily scrutinize destinations for their own environmental progress.

“I think that as we see from a port destination perspective, as we see the industry and the community and investors pushing and encouraging ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance), I think it’s not too long down the road that we’re going to find nations are being ranked or rated on their ESG commitments as well,” Maura said.

“How well are we doing in marine conservation; how well we are doing in recycling; how are we handling our waste; how we’re doing on gender equality and all these types of things.

“So I don’t think this is purely a industry or port-specific initiative, I think it’s going to be a much broader look from an ESG standpoint, in terms of what is the destination doing to ensure that it is the right partner.

“Right now the industry obviously has felt the pressure from destinations about being greener, but I think the investor, the passenger is also going to be looking at the destinations they travel to.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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