Hamburg: A Growing Cruise Hub
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hamburg is the first German port achieving for the first time the magical 500 000 passenger mark in a single season. New facilities plan to open by June 2015, which will handle 6,000 to 8,000 passengers during a full 10-hour turnaround. Cruise industry generates huge economic impact for the port and destination and brings ecological responsibilities.

Miami. The 2013 Hamburg cruising season came to an end on New Year’s eve, with the 2014 season commencing just 8 days later with the arrival of the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ on 8 January. Hamburg has once again proved that the city is also an attractive all-year-round destination for cruise ships.

In total, the Port of Hamburg registered 178 cruise calls (+ 10 percent against the previous year), of which 167 were turnarounds, including 32 partial turnarounds, plus eleven transit calls. Hamburg recorded a passenger volume of 552,459 passengers for the 2013 season (+ 28.5 percent against the previous year). “These figures mean Hamburg was the most frequented German embarkation and disembarkation port in 2013 and, as in 2012, once again tops the German cruising port rankings,” managing director Gerd Drossel adds.

Hamburg undoubtedly has the potential to be among the world’s TOP 20 largest “home ports”. The figures for 2012 show that in a comparison of the most important Northern European “home ports” Hamburg comes in third behind Southampton with 1,529 million passengers and Copenhagen with 840 000 passengers.

“In global terms the German market is currently the fastest growing and counts for the cruise season 2013 in total 1,68 million ocean going cruise passengers (+ 9,2 percent). With the figures of 2014 the German market will surely overtake the British market and become the most important European source market,” Drossel states. Experts forecast up to 2 million German ocean cruise passengers in 2015 and 2.5 million by 2020.

This growth will further benefit the cruise hub Hamburg, which has to date 186 cruise calls scheduled for the 2014 season. As such, the number of passengers is due to increase to over 600,000 (+ 8 percent). 2015 will see Hamburg take its next major step forward as a cruise destination, with the scheduled completion of the third cruise terminal and the positioning of the “AIDAprima”, which is planned to begin and end its cruises in Hamburg every seven days over 52 weeks of the year.

Just in time, the new berth will go into operation. The location is across the river from Hamburg's current terminals, fewer than two kilometers away from many of the main sights in the center and a short ride by ferry. Traveling time to the international airport will be about half an hour. The facility will be constructed on a plot measuring approximately 20 hectares and comprise two terminal buildings (for incoming and outgoing passengers), a 1,800-square-meter baggage hall, vast quay space and parking for coaches and up to 1,546 cars. A separate landing stage will be built for local passenger ferries that will link the facility to the city center. This third terminal plans to open by June 2015, which will handle 6,000 to 8,000 passengers during a full 10-hour turnaround.

The cruise industry is a significant economic factor, justifying new infrastructure projects. The Chamber of Commerce has now for the second time presented accounts for the value creation of the cruise industry in Hamburg, based on the 2013 figures. The total value creation resulting from cruise ships’ in port added up to nearly 25 million euros. This is supplemented by the value creation generated by cruise passengers and the ships’ crews. In total their spending is 21 million euros. But passengers are not the only ones to leave money behind them in the city – there are also day tourists who travel to Hamburg for ship’s christenings, Cruise Days and other events. The value creation resulting from visits to the city by this category of person is around 32 million euros in the past year. As the fourth and last area, the study investigates the effects of the cruise industry on other industrial sectors. The value creation of all these associated with the cruise industry is around 192 million euros. All together this sector ears 270 million euros for the Hanseatic city.

Growing figures should comply with certain ecological standards. The City of Hamburg has hence passed a resolution on alternative energy supply for cruise ships. The goal is to realize the concept as quickly as possible. Completion of the AIDA-barge infrastructure (LNG power barge) is planned for the 3rd quarter of 2014; completion of the onshore power supply plant in Altona for the 3rd quarter of 2015.

Bringing all aspects of a perfect cruise port and destination together and being the main driver of cruise growth, the Hamburg Cruise Center as an association is playing the leading role in the city. Managing Director Gerd Drossel is optimistic, “that a bright future lies ahead based on the vision shared by its 20 founding members back in 1998 when the association was established to revive the cruise business in Hamburg. Together with the members – who include shipping lines, agents, port companies, ship chandlers, catering enterprises and hotels, the association has turned Hamburg into one of the most popular cruising destinations in Europe”.

The structure of the association and the corresponding functions are regarded as Best Practice in the international cruising industry – a prime example of successful destination marketing. Currently consolidating the interests of 107 members from right across the cruising supply chain, the association continues to provide its members with a mutual and meaningful platform from which to expand their cruise business activity from this important and welcome industry.


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