European Commission to launch new biometric Entry-Exit System at cruise ports in 2024

   June 12, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

The European Commission is set to introduce a new Entry-Exit System (EES) for all member states in October 2024. This system will include updated immigration procedures at cruise ports, incorporating biometric checks such as fingerprint and facial recognition upon arrival and/or departure.

One significant challenge posed by this new system is the extended time required to process each cruise passenger. The current inspection time of 30-45 seconds per passenger is expected to increase to ~2 minutes. This change could result in clearance times for a full ship taking 3 to 4 times longer than usual, potentially affecting the passenger experience negatively.

In preparation, Copenhagen Malmo Port (CMP) has proactively initiated collaboration with the Danish Border Control (DBC). CMP, in conjunction with local stakeholders, has engaged in early discussions with DBC to determine which types of itineraries will be prioritized for inspections. CMP’s commercial cruise director, Luis de Carvalho, noted that early meetings with the Danish Border Control have revealed that ~10-15 cruise calls annually, out of a possible 300, will be prioritized for inspection. These inspections will mainly focus on turnaround calls starting and ending in non-Schengen countries.

Through these discussions, CMP has also gained an understanding of the requirements for flow and space at terminals to ensure compliance while minimizing passenger inconvenience. Additionally, the DBC will employ smart mobile cases to facilitate passenger inspections at the terminal.

De Carvalho advises other ports to engage in similar dialogues with their national immigration or border control authorities to understand how the new rules will be implemented. He also encourages communication between member states to ensure consistency in the application of these rules across the cruise industry.

Meanwhile, Cruise Europe is supporting ongoing dialogue among ports, associate members, cruise lines, and Frontex (the EU’s European Border and Coast Guard Agency) to share relevant information and guidelines for efficient implementation of the new procedures.