MSC launches shore power program in Northern Europe

MSC Cruises will use shore power in Northern Europe this summer. two ships, MSC Virtuoso and MSC Poesiawill use shore power at the ports of Southampton in the UK and Rostock-Warnemünde in Germany.

By the end of the year, the cruise line hopes to have more than half of the fleet shore power-enabled, and the company has signed an agreement with Cruise Baltic to make shore power widely available. available in ports in the Baltic Sea region by 2024.

Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Just as Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean have pledged, MSC Cruises aims to be 100% net zero on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The ambitious plans compel the company to take action by developing a series of initiatives that further reduce emissions and pollution from burning heavy fuel oil.

Like MSC Virtuoso and MSC Poesia start using shore power from two northern European ports, the company will significantly reduce the number of emissions at Southampton and Rostock-Warnemünde. This is the first time that shore power will be used at either port by the world’s third largest cruise line.

Photo credit: Ronald Rampsch / Shutterstock

Shore power allows ships to shut down all engines and operate ashore to power all on-board systems. This will significantly reduce costs, but it will also reduce ship noise levels in the harbor and eliminate vibration.

Rostock-Warnemünde is already the largest provider of shore power for cruise ships in Europe, while Southampton is the largest cruise ship embarkation port in Europe.

Linden Coppell, Director of Sustainability at MSC Cruises, said: “We look forward to using shore power in Southampton and Warnemünde throughout the summer season and commend the port authorities for their forward-thinking and innovative commitment.”

“At MSC Cruises, we are constantly striving to improve our environmental footprint, and shore power allows us to do this by significantly reducing emissions from our ships while at berth. We need more ports in other key markets in Europe to introduce shore power as soon as possible, joining our efforts towards net zero emissions by 2050 and significantly reducing our local air emissions.

MSC Virtuosa at sea
Photo courtesy: MSC Cruises

MSC has also signed an agreement with Cruise Baltic. This includes 32 ports and destinations in the Baltic Sea region, which will now work to increase onshore power supply facilities in the region.

MSC Cruises is ensuring that cruise ships in the Baltic Sea region use shore power, if available, by 1 January 2024 at the latest.

MSC is working to rethink the cruise industry

By 2022, MSC will equip 11 out of 21 cruise ships with shore power connectivity. Other ships in the fleet will also be equipped with this ability once it becomes available in the ports they sail to.

Linden Coppell added, “We are committed to supporting the authorities in the development of shore power for our ships when in port. We have a clear and unequivocal position that wherever shore power is available, we will give priority to vessels that have this capability.

In addition to shore power, MSC has taken several other initiatives to reduce emissions. This includes operating its newest cruise ships, MSC World Europe and MSC Euribia, to LNG. 14 of MSC Cruises’ ships have been fitted with hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, guaranteeing a reduction of sulfur oxides by 98%.

MSC Virtuosa cruise ship
Photo credit: Wayleebird /

The new ships will also be equipped with selective catalytic reduction systems, which convert nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water. And, MSC World Europe will feature the largest solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) ever installed, generating electricity 20-30% more efficiently through a non-combustion electrochemical process.

Cruise industry on track for 2050

Over the past few decades, the cruise industry has come under increasing pressure to act on the polluting pathways of the past and focus its energy on developing sustainable efforts to reduce the use of heavy fuel oil.

The three biggest market players, Carnival, Royal Caribbeanand MSC have all taken this advice to heart by developing LNG-powered cruise ships and investing heavily in fuel cell technologies.

At the same time, Norwegian Cruise Line invests in scrubbers and environmental measures that significantly reduce the amount of emissions and pollution from its ships.

Although the industry has yet to reach its end goal, it is on track to meet its 2050 goals.

MSC cruise ship

Ryan H. Bowman