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Miami's Cruise Industry The Focus Of Day 1 At Aspen Ideas Climate Conference

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Leaders from around the world are meeting in Miami Beach at the Aspen Ideas Climate Conference to share ideas for adapting to climate change.

Monday afternoon, the focus was one of the things Miami is most well-known for, its cruise industry.

Top executives from major cruise lines were part of the discussion.

"We can upgrade our ships and we have," Carnival Corporations CEO Arnold Donald said.

Carnival is the biggest cruise operator in the world. It has 97 ships, and almost 50% can draw power from the shore when docked. But the problem is not that many ports have the capability.

"Only 21 ports in the world where you can plug in today," Donald said.

Miami is without that technology currently, but not for that much longer. Local officials and FPL are working to build out the infrastructure.

"However, it is only as effective as the grid you're plugging into," Tim Oliver, FPL VP of Development, explained.

To that end, FPL has invested in solar and green hydrogen to reduce carbon emissions. But the push for clean fuels in the cruise capitol of the world has implications on shipping cargo as well.

"I think what's going to happen, just like what happened with the vaccines, there's going to be a fast track that will develop technologies that will help us have a lower footprint," MSC Cruises USA Chairman Richard Sasso said.

MSC operates not only cruises but is the biggest shipping cargo company in the world.

"I think what's really important is this is a momentum that is starting to launch. Miami being one of those places puts a lot of focus on that so you'll see a lot more traction," Sasso added.

Terminals at PortMiami should have shore power plug-in capabilities by end of 2023 with more coming online in 2024.

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