Piraeus Port: Cruise Business Back to Normal, 2022 Best Year of Revenue
The cruise business for the port of Piraeus has not only returned back to normal but is moving at a rapid pace with excellent future prospects, Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) SA Chairman Yu Zenggang said during the recent 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum in Thessaloniki.
Speaking during a panel discussion titled “The Return to Growth: Challenges ahead for Cruise Lines and Destinations”, Zenggang spoke of the fast resumption of cruise operations at the Piraeus port after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After the almost total suspension of 2020, cruising at Piraeus resumed mid-May 2021, faster than other Mediterranean ports,” Zenggang said, reminding that in 2019, before the pandemic, the port of Piraeus broke the limit of 1 million cruise passengers.
The PPA’s head said that despite the negative impact of the pandemic, the port of Piraeus saw a significant uptake in the cruise sector in 2021 and in 2022 the port succeeded in serving a significant number of cruise ships, contributing to the recovery of the Greek tourism industry.
2022 best year ever in revenue and profitability
Overall, Zenggang said that 2022 was “a year best-ever achieved for PPA” in both revenue and profitability with the cruise segment leading the way with a significant increase in both port calls and passenger traffic.
According to data presented by Zenggang, in 2022, passenger traffic at Piraeus port increased by 190 percent to 880,416 compared to 303,665 in 2021. Cruise ship berthing also rose by 79 percent to 677 berths compared to 379 a year earlier, exceeding pre-Covid 2019 levels.
“Piraeus with the positive activity both during the pandemic in 2020 and the quick response to the restart of the industry in 2021 has been recorded as a reliable partner,” he said, adding that homeporting arrivals last year increased by 100.5 percent compared to 2021.
“So, we can for sure say that the cruise business not only returned back to normal but is moving at a rapid pace with excellent future prospects and significant benefits to the country’s tourism industry and economies,” he added.
Referring to the great importance of homeporting, Zenggang said that through an effective strategy and targeted investments the PPA is attracting many cruise ships to use the port of Piraeus as a homeport.
During 2022, 65 percent of the cruise ships at Piraeus were homeporting. Meanwhile, 2023 pre-bookings for homeport cruise ships have already reached 629, showing a 43 percent increase compared to 2022.
“Based on this year’s pre-bookings, the positive prospects will continue also in the next year,” he said, adding that in 2023 the PPA expects in total some 800 cruise ships to make port calls at Piraeus.
Moreover, Zenggang said that in the next two to three years the PPA is expected to have completed a major project in the port of Piraeus – a new cruise terminal that will be able to manage and accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world that have a capacity of up to 9,000 passengers.
Investment never stops
Zenggang added that COSCO, the PPA’s major shareholder, continuously invests in the port of Piraeus in all areas (from cruise operations, coastal shipping, container and logistics to car and ship repair business), leading to great modernization and leveraging on its unique geographical position.
“Greece is a top destination for travelers all over the world… The country’s largest port needs to provide the infrastructure and the capacity to support and develop this high interest,” he said.
The PPA’s head added that through a well-defined plan and a step by step “360° improvement” – at a service and infrastructure level but also in terms of communication and cooperation with the local authorities and involved ministries – the port of Piraeus has turned into “an important destination for cruise ships in the Mediterranean Sea”.
Held by Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., the 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum welcomed over 400 delegates from the global cruise industry during April 25-26 at the Makedonia Palace hotel in Thessaloniki. The event also saw over 40 exhibitors and 60 high-profile speakers who discussed the challenges the industry is currently facing.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is a media sponsor for the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2023.