Port Barcelona (Spain) to ban ships from northern docks

   August 27, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Barcelona, renowned for its enchanting Gothic Quarter, idyllic beaches, and the renowned Boqueria market, stands as Spain's most sought-after tourist destination. The year 2022 welcomed an impressive influx of 2.3+ million cruise tourists to the city. Nonetheless, the flourishing industry's trajectory might encounter a hurdle in the face of recently imposed ship limitations.

Taking effect from October 22nd, an autumnal initiative will prohibit ships from utilizing Port Barcelona's northern docks. This move aims to curtail exhaust emissions within the downtown, channeling ship traffic to berths located farther away. As the most polluted European city attributed to cruise shipping, Barcelona's decision is rooted in addressing this concern.

Regrettably, this novel regulation will impact cruise passengers, curtailing their direct access to the heart of the city along La Rambla, a central street brimming with cultural allure.

Following October 22nd, cruise vessels will find docking at the southern port, distanced from the bustling downtown. The southern port predominantly accommodates larger ships like RCI-Royal Caribbean's. Consequently, disembarking passengers must rely on shuttle buses or taxis for transportation to the city center, as the distance is not pedestrian-friendly.

Lluis Salvado (Port's President) emphasizes that the decision to relocate ship docking is far from arbitrary. This strategic shift, meticulously developed over the years, seeks to minimize emissions' impact on Barcelona's local population.

Embedded within a broader framework, this directive reflects an overarching strategy to mitigate the consequences of cruise tourism on the city. In response to mounting protests and concerns surrounding overtourism and pollution, this action aligns with the city's endeavor to strike a balance.

Numerous residents have voiced grievances about cruise tourists, who, they contend, bring crowds without proportionally contributing to the local economy.