Mutual collaboration with CLIA high on the agenda at CE
The press release stated that “the committee will serve as a forum where cruise lines and ports from around the world can come together to discuss port development and operations within the larger cruise industry”.
What does this mean for port associations such as Cruise Europe questions Michael McCarthy, chairman of CE. For 20 years and more Cruise Europe has been engaging directly with cruise line executives on issues concerning the industry both at its annual conference and at individual meetings at head offices from as far afield as Miami, Hamburg, London, Italy, France and Spain.
The association of 115 member ports already has direct dialogue with key decision-makers on port development, operations and shore excursion programmes, explains McCarthy. “I cannot see what added value would be gained by our members joining CLIA at the reported global membership price of circa US$25,000”.
What he can see is a joint collaboration whereby CLIA and Cruise Europe has reciprocal associate membership allowing each to offer their own particular expertise whilst working on areas of mutual interest such as lobbying the EU, promoting the region and sharing information.
By being represented at committee meetings CE can bring years of experience and expertise to the table. This idea of an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between CLIA and Cruise Europe was first proposed by the chairman in 2012 in order for both organisations to work in a collaborative and mutually beneficial manner. This is the most efficient way to improve and strengthen relations with CLIA and other associations representing the cruise lines globally.
“Cruise Europe at its AGM’s in London and Le Havre in 2012 and 2013 had direct discussions with the cruise lines on topics ranging from infrastructure development to Emissions Control Areas to wastewater discharge. At the Cruise Europe conference in Riga in May 2014 our members had direct contact with cruise line executives in a small arena giving them the opportunity to swap views and develop strategies as we move forward in an increasingly regulated and demanding world,” explains McCarthy.
This type of discussion could provide an invaluable platform should CLIA and CE opt for a collaborative partnership which McCarthy is actively seeking.
When it comes to ports joining as individuals the global fee is prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of ports with only the marquee and large/turnaround ports being in a position to join. By CE joining as an Association all the members will be involved, both giving to and gaining from the collaboration.
McCarthy is concerned that without such a collaboration between long-established associations such as Cruise Europe and MedCruise and CLIA there is the danger of creating a two-tier industry. In an industry that is actively researching new ports, it could be counter-productive for these and the smaller ports to have no voice simply because they are unable to afford the fee.
By allowing port associations to join as one, McCarthy believes this will create a win/win situation for all and most importantly contribute to the successful growth of the cruise industry.
He advises CE members to await developments of further discussions prior to making any decisions about joining as individual members of CLIA.