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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council

 

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‘Cruise ships need second sea lock’

14 June 2007 - A second sea lock must be built, or Amsterdam will loose wealthy cruise passengers, a lobby group warns. ‘Pathetic’, finds Haarlemmerliede city council member Erik Pentenga.

Economic lobby group Masterplan NZKG has offered a new argument for building a second sea lock near IJmuiden in the canal connecting Amsterdam with the North Sea. Waiting times at the busy lock might cause cruise passengers to miss their connecting flights at Schiphol Airport.

This would ruin the reputation of Amsterdam as a cruise destination, said René Kouwenberg, director of the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA).

Two years ago, a study by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) found that there is no economic justification for building a second lock, at least not until 2013. Activists further say that a second lock will harm the environment.

Pentenga (PvdA) is not convinced by the cruise ship argument. “The argumentation for the second sea lock is becoming a bit pathetic”.

Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that European cruise capacity is expected to increase 23 percent this summer and another ten percent next year. Cruises are becoming increasingly attractive to American tourists, because they pay much of their expenses in advance in dollars. They are thus protected against fluctuating exchange rates.

Cruise companies are repositioning vessels from South America and Alaska to Europe. New cruises include a three-week voyage from Amsterdam to Romania’s Black Sea port of Cernavoda, and an 11-day northern European cruise passing through Amsterdam.

Whether the cruise boom justifies building a second lock is unclear. According to the CPB, a large share of the ships passing through the lock are bulk carriers for which the waiting time costs are low.

Illustration: 2680- passenger Costa Atlantica from Italy, moored at the PTA this morning. More: Pentenga weblog (in Dutch); PTA; ships passing through the North Sea Canal.

 

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