Costa Crociere to have its own terminal in Genoa within 5 years
During the coin ceremony of Costa Smeralda in Turku, general manager Palomba illustrated the company's next objectives, including doubling its volumes
Turku (Finland) – Within next 5 years Costa Crociere, part of Carnival Group, will receive (considering also its German subsidiary Aida) 7 new ships, with which the current 2.5 million passengers handled by its fleet could be doubled.
Moreover, according to the company's general manager Neil Palomba, in the same lapse of time Costa Crociere will probably build a new terminal in the port of Genoa, where their ships will return in 2019, after 15 years of absence.
Palomba disclosed said objectives during the coin ceremony of Costa Smeralda, under construction in the Finnish shipyard of Meyer Turku, part of German group Meyer Werft, which – as its CEO Jan Meyer explained – recently purchased a new crane and used it for the first time to transfer the ship's hull to the dock after the traditional welding of coins.
Ordered in 2015, the newbuilding will have a 180,000 gross tonnage and a capacity of 6,600 passengers (besides 1,600 crew members).
In particular, as Palomba pointed out, “it will be the first cruise ship traded in the global market supplied exclusively with LNG” (the unit Aida Nova, equipped with the same technology, will be delivered before, but it will be operated only for German customers, ed.).
Costa Smeralda will be equipped with dual fuel propellers, thus being able to use also traditional fuel - “as it is needed both for equipment redundancy purposes, and to allow for maximum operational flexibility” - but it will be able to sail exclusively by gas, with a 14 days autonomy.
From November 4th 2019, Smeralda will sail from Savona on a weekly basis, calling at Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia. “LNG will be supplied in Barcelona and fuel will be provided by Shell, according to an agreement between Shell and Carnival related to the whole group's future units supplied with natural gas”, the company's executive explained.
Said units will include Costa Smeralda's sistership, to be delivered in 2021 and deployed in the Western Mediterranean Sea: “Two vessels of this size embarking passengers on Saturdays will not be able to call at our terminal in Savona simultaneously. Therefore, next year the unit Costa Fortuna will call at Genoa for the whole summer season, embarking on Fridays. In cooperation with the Port Authority and with local institutions, we are trying to find a suitable area in the port of Genoa, possibly in the historical port. I believe that in 5 years we will be able to have our own terminal in
Genoa, also as a result of local policies supporting tourism development”, Palomba observed.
More operations in Genoa, “where we have always been headquartered”, would not imply a reduction of presence in Savona, the company's main Mediterranean hub for over a decade. “In the next 5 years our fleet's capacity will increase significantly, therefore we will have enough vessels to increase our activities in Genoa without damaging Savona”, Costa Crociere pointed out.
Within 2023, Costa group (including Aida) will receive 7 new ships: Aida Nova in autumn 2018, Costa Smeralda in autumn 2019, followed by another two units for the German brand, Smeralda's sistership and two vessels under construction by Fincantieri for Costa Asia, the brand created for the Asian market.
This will allow Costa Crociere to double the volume of handled passengers in 5 years: “From the current 2.5 million passengers travelling on our ships every year, we aim at achieving 5 million passengers by 2023”, Palomba ensured.
“In the USA, cruises currently boast a 3.5% market penetration, while in more mature European markets such as UK and Germany it is around 2-2.5%, and in Italy and Spain it barely reaches 1%. If we could only achieve the current American penetration rate in the main European countries, our growth would be huge”, explained the general manager of the company established in Genoa in 1948 which just celebrated the first 70 years since their first transatlantic crossing between Genoa and Buenos Aires, with the ship Anna Costa.
Anyway Costa has more goals to reach: “In the past two years we made significant investments in Russia. It is a new market, but it already brought great satisfaction!” Palomba concluded.