Fewer cruise ships will now stop their machines in La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime. By 2030, an overall reduction of 50% of their CO2 emissions has been recorded in recent weeks by the various institutional players in the territory such as the Grand Port maritime, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), the agglomeration and the city of La Rochelle.
To achieve this, a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions will have to be found on the side of "technological developments", particularly in terms of construction and motorization. The remaining 40% will be obtained by reducing the number of days of stopovers compared to 2022, the year of all records in the maritime city. Nearly fifty liners had docked there. The summer period between July 10 and August 31 will also be sanctuarized: no ship will be able to moor during this period.
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The Grand Port Maritime, which welcomes nearly 1,200 ships a year, welcomes this collective approach that has made it possible to set this objective. "It is a reasoned growth that has been chosen, with a trajectory consistent with the objectives "La Rochelle Zero Carbon Territory". Without this, growth would have been much stronger," says Michel Puyrazat, chairman of the board and general manager of the commercial port.
Deputy mayor of La Rochelle in charge of this file, Marie Nédellec does not share this position and campaigned "in a personal capacity" for the definitive cessation of stopovers. "This cruise ship activity is the symbol of mass tourism that no longer has its place in La Rochelle. We are at the dawn of a major ecological transition, we should be bolder on this type of decision, "pleads the elected representative.
Michel Puyrazat assures, him, to have refused three liners in 2023. "For 2024, bookings are already full, and we have already turned down nine cruise ships. Without this defined trajectory until 2030, the number of stopovers would have continued to increase," he says.
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The Grand Port Maritime also explains that it has worked a lot on future booking criteria with professionals, which are increasingly drastic. "The reactions of cruise passengers have been difficult, I cannot refuse a ship because I do not like the captain's cap," says Michel Puyrazat. For now, first come first served. But the Rochelle territory could still tighten the screws and target the least polluting models.