Going Coastal

New York Is Floating Higher in a Ranking of Cruise Ports

In Maritime on August 29, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Thanks largely to the new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, New York has risen to the no. 6 cruise port in the country, a report being published today says.

There was a 45% surge in passengers embarking from New York in 2006, to 536,000, according to the report by the industry trade group Cruise Line Industry Association. This brings New York’s ports in line with 2004 figures, before Royal Caribbean moved its home port to Cape Liberty in New Jersey, causing a severe drop-off in passengers.

“In 2005, there was a draw-down as a result of Royal Caribbean, but the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has helped make up for this loss,” a principal at Business Research & Economic Advisors, Andrew Moody, said. The research firm was hired by the cruise industry to conduct the study.

The report comes at a delicate time for the city, which has wanted to expand the $56 million Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to Pier 10 and renovate the waterfront in the Red Hook neighborhood to include a marina, art galleries, and even a beer garden. The borough’s last remaining cargo terminal currently operates at Pier 10, and under the city’s plan it would be shrunk to two piers from five.

Several local politicians and the cargo port’s operator, American Stevedoring Inc., oppose the plan. Last month, the City Council introduced a resolution warning the Bloomberg administration of its opposition; the council has the power to block the deal by preventing the owner of the piers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, from transferring ownership to the city, a necessary step to redevelop the site. According to press reports, the city’s Economic Development Corp. and the Port Authority are set to meet with American Stevedoring this month in a bid to find a solution.

“We are pleased that the value of the cruise industry to the city of New York has been validated by the CLIA report,” the executive vice president of the Economic Development Corp., Brian Murphy, said. According to the city’s figures, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will receive 51 ship calls and 225,000 passengers this year and 62 ship calls and 277,300 passengers in 2008. There are only 14 full-time jobs at the port, in addition to another 279 people that pick up a day of work when ships are at port, roughly once a week.

CLIA’s report was not entirely rosy. In fact, while the number of embarkations jumped, the economic impact of the cruise industry on employment plummeted nearly 33%, to 13,421 jobs, and cruise-related income dropped 26.5%, to $729 million. These figures take into account jobs that service the cruise industry, including hotel staff and restaurant employees, and the income these jobs generate. The reason for the drop in jobs and income was a decrease in spending in New York on manufacturing, such as the production of uniforms, and financing services, such as insurance for crews and the ships, Mr. Moody said.

In addition, the amount the industry spent on direct purchases, including consulting services, food and beverages, and other operating expenditures, was relatively stagnant, nudging up just 4%, to $1.086 billion.

The report also found that 462,000 New York residents cruised last year, accounting for 5% of all American cruise passengers. Nationwide, the cruise industry generated $35.7 billion in gross economic output, a 10% increase over 2005, and was responsible for 348,000 jobs paying $14.7 billion in wages. Direct spending by cruise lines, their employees, and passengers totaled $17.6 billion.

“The entire tourism industry makes an important contribution to the city’s economy and it does seem that the cruise ship sector has been growing,” the president of the Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, said. “And people who are coming to New York City to take cruises obviously stay overnight in a hotel and spend money here.”

By JULIE SATOW

NY Sun  

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