NCLH Charts a Path Towards Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), a global cruise company which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has launched its revamped climate action strategy along with near-term greenhouse gas (GHG) targets to support the company’s pursuit of net-zero by 2050. These actions underscore the company’s robust commitment to decarbonization as part of its global sustainability program, "Sail & Sustain."

Key components of the company’s new interim GHG reduction targets include:

  • Reduce GHG intensity by 10 percent by 2026 and 25 percent by 2030, compared to a 2019 baseline with intensity measured on a per Capacity Day1 basis.
  • The targets cover the company’s emissions from its fleet of ships, islands and facilities (Scopes 1 & 2) as well as upstream fuel- and energy-related activities, including well-to-tank emissions (portion of Scope 3). As such, the targets will capture the full well-to-wake emissions impact of the company’s fuel consumption.
  • Interim targets provide a roadmap to support the company’s existing net zero by 2050 ambition. The scope of this commitment expands to the company’s entire greenhouse gas footprint, including its vast network of suppliers and partners across its value chain.

The company’s revamped climate action strategy is centered around three pillars: Efficiency, Innovation and Collaboration.

Efficiency: The company is focused on optimizing efficiency for its existing fleet which can have an immediate impact to onboard power consumption and GHG emissions as well as generate fuel savings. This includes both ongoing investments in systems and technologies, such as HVAC system upgrades and waste heat recovery systems, as well as operational enhancements, such as smart itinerary and voyage planning and optimization of hotel operations. Operational changes require data, education and accountability, therefore the company is also building and investing in internal systems and processes to enable its team members, and even guests, to operate its ships with optimal efficiency.

Innovation: The company is innovating for long-term solutions and technologies, including those that support the ability to operate on green fuels. Since 2022, the company has successfully completed tests of biofuel blends on multiple ships, in which a blend of approximately 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent marine gas oil has been used. NCLH believes biodiesel is a viable transition fuel that can support the decarbonization journey as long-term solutions are tested and scaled.

In the long run, the company views green methanol as a promising solution and recently announced the modification of the final two Prima Class ships, expected to be delivered in 2027 and 2028, to accommodate the use of green methanol as an alternative fuel source in the future. While additional modifications will be needed in the future to fully enable the use of methanol in addition to traditional marine fuel on these ships, this reinforces the company’s commitment to decarbonization. The use of green methanol would result in a drastic reduction in emissions, including an up to 95 percent reduction in CO2, and its properties enable the continued use of conventional fuel storage and bunkering with fewer modifications compared to other emerging fuels in the market at this time. However, the production of green methanol is still in the early stages and will require continued investments to sufficiently scale for distribution and consumption globally.

Collaboration: The pathway to net zero will be complex and will require significant collaboration across the company’s network of stakeholders including suppliers, communities, governments and NGOs to collectively partner and find solutions to combat climate change. NCLH is continuously exploring partnerships to champion efforts surrounding the development of green fuels along with the global infrastructure to produce, store and distribute these fuels.

NCLH also views cross-sector collaboration as a catalyst for effective and accelerated change and is an active member in industry associations, such as the Methanol Institute, and regional forums. For example, the company is a first mover partner of the Pacific Northwest to Alaska Green Corridor, a collaborative effort between ports, governments and cruise operators in the region, to explore a maritime green corridor aimed at accelerating the deployment of zero GHG emission ships and operations between Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. In addition, the company continues to actively partner with key ports to accelerate the use of shore power technology which allows cruise ships to connect to onshore electrical power grids to supply much of the power needed while docked. While the land-based infrastructure expansion is underway, the company is also equipping its ships with the technology needed to plug-in, targeting to have approximately 70 percent of its fleet equipped by 2025.

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