Cruise shipping and urban development

DUB_olaf_merkCruise shipping has grown spectacularly over the last decades, and forecasts for the cruise line industry suggest that the current growth being experienced will continue, with cruise line operators tapping into new markets and destinations. The industry is highly concentrated, has substantial barriers of entry and is subject to economies of scale. In this context, the benefits of cruise shipping for cruise destinations can be limited. Cruise passengers spend on average US$100 per day in a port-city, however much of this spending has no local impact, e.g. when excursions for cruise passengers are provided by the cruise line rather than local enterprises. For destination ports, cruise calls provide peaks of visitors that can have severe consequences for urban traffic. Further, cruise terminals can have considerable environmental impacts on their surroundings, often city centres. Despite these challenges, many cities are keen to develop cruise port activity, aspiring to foster local tourist industries. In the context of rapid growth in cruise markets, this presentation will consider under which conditions ports and cities can extract benefits from cruise shipping? It will assess the main policy options at the disposal of cities and their ports to use cruise shipping for urban economic development. The presentation will draw from a series of case studies conducted by the OECD on cruise shipping and urban development, including on Dublin.

Olaf Merk is Administrator Ports and Shipping at the International Transport Forum (ITF) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), international organisation in Paris. As such, he directed studies on ports, port-cities, port regulation and governance. Olaf Merk is the author of various OECD books including “he Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities”. As Administrator of the OECD Port-Cities Programme, his previous post at the OECD, he directed more than a dozen studies on port-cities, including on Hong Kong, Shanghai, Rotterdam and Hamburg. He has authored various port-related articles in academic and professional journals. He is also lecturer on the Governance of Port-Cities at the Institute for Political Science (Sciences Po) in Paris. Prior to the OECD, he worked for the Netherlands Ministry of Finance. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam.


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