Photo courtesy Port of Vancouver

Pacific Northwest Ports, Cruise Lines to Explore ‘Green Corridor’ for Cruise Ships

Mike Schuler
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May 17, 2022

Ports and cruise lines in the Pacific Northwest have announced plans to explore the possibility of creating the world’s first maritime ‘green corridor’ for cruise ships.

A green corridor is a maritime trade route where zero greenhouse gas emissions solutions are “demonstrated and support.” Many view them as an important step in creating the technological, economic, and regulatory feasibility needed for zero greenhouse gas emission ships to succeed on a global scale.

The idea for green corridors gained traction in 2021 when 24 countries, including the United States and Canada, signed the Clydebank Declaration and, in doing so, committed to supporting the establishment of at least six green corridors by 2025.

The Port of Seattle, City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and a number of leading global cruise lines, along with the Global Maritime Forum, Blue Sky Maritime Coalition, and Washington Maritime Blue, have now agreed to a “First Mover Commitment” on the cruise-led green corridor, which was announced Tuesday during the International Association of Ports and Harbors World Ports Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The collaborative effort is aimed at exploring the feasibility of a green corridor that could accelerate the deployment of zero greenhouse gas emission cruise ships and operations between Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. Nearly 300 ships leave Seattle for Alaska in a six-month cruise season, while Alaska hosts more than 600 cruise sailings per year in total.

Partners in the commitment are expected to leverage and support each other’s decarbonization efforts already underway and bring resources and technology advancements.

“These first movers are coming together around the need to address the most pressing issue of our time – climate change,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “By exploring the development of a Green Corridor, we’re bringing resources and technological advancements to this region where commercially viable zero greenhouse gas emissions ships may sail that much sooner. We’re not naïve about the challenges ahead. But we recognize the urgency to act as we transition to an inclusive blue economy that works for the climate, commerce, and communities alike.”

Specifically, the first mover partners agree to work together to explore the feasibility of a green corridor in the Pacific Northwest, including, but not limited to, further defining the scope and application of the green corridor concept; enhance and support the emission-reduction efforts already underway and using the green corridor as a testbed for low and zero greenhouse gas technologies and ships, as feasible; and work collaboratively to define the governance structures, terms, and frameworks needed to guide this regional effort.

“The Pacific Northwest is both an area of tremendous natural beauty, and an area of global leadership in advancing sustainable shipping,” said Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “We’ve been proud to work with regional partners on important cross-border efforts such as the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, to phase-out all port related emissions by 2050, and through the ECHO Program, to reduce the impacts of commercial shipping on endangered whales.”

Cruise line and industry partners include Carnival Corporation and its cruise brands including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Seabourn and Cunard; Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and its cruise brands including Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Royal Caribbean Group including its brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises; and Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association.

“This opens a new chapter for the cruise industry and each of our brands,” said Jan Swartz, Group President of Holland America Group. “Working together, we are pioneering a new frontier to help protect the environment as we continue our commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

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