Procurement for cruise ships is a complex process that involves sourcing and acquiring the goods and services needed to operate a cruise ship, from food and beverages to fuel and spare parts. Due to the unique challenges of the shipping industry, procurement for cruise ships requires careful planning, coordination, and management to ensure that the ship is adequately stocked and that all supplies are delivered on time and within budget.

Procurement plays a critical role in the success of a cruise ship operation, as it directly impacts the customer experience and the company’s bottom line. Inefficient procurement processes can lead to stockouts, delays, and higher costs, which can negatively affect the customer experience and the company’s profitability. Effective procurement strategies, on the other hand, can help cruise ship operators optimize their supply chain, reduce costs, and provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for their passengers.

Last week, my wife and I had the opportunity to take our first cruise.  The cruise was 5 days and had 3,000 passengers and approximately 1,000 crew members.

The cruise got me thinking about what it takes to feed everyone on board among other things.  Usually, we think of shipping vessels in procurement and supply chain as opposed to an actual cruise ship itself and what it takes to keep it motoring so to speak.

In researching the topic, I found some very interesting facts and statistics.

Obviously, as far as food goes, just-in-time (JIT) deliveries from suppliers are absolutely crucial.  This requires advanced planning with respect to:

  • Itineraries
  • Occupation forecasts
  • Consumption records

According to Eduardo Lopez Puertas, VP of Land Operations with Pullmantur Group, the average consumption of food products on a cruise ship per week is as follows:

  • Eggs – 18,600 (or 1,550 dozen)
  • Flour – 1,550 pounds
  • Beef – 4,200 pounds
  • Bananas – 1,550 pounds
  • Water – 1,320 gallons
  • Beer – 1,320 gallons
  • Milk – 1,060 gallons
  • Whiskey – 210 gallons

Perhaps it was the cruise ship that I was on, but I was surprised at how much milk is typically consumed compared to water in a week.

In addition, a cruise ship also averages 12,000 drinking straws per month and 4,000 rolls of toilet paper!

A great deal of planning goes into the procurement process for a cruise ship including vendor selection and bidding, transportation and the delivery time of goods.

For provisions, price and quality obviously play a huge role.  According to Puertas, “big suppliers with a vast range of products are often chosen to deliver more than 90% of the total provisions”.  Small suppliers are then used for local products and urgent deliveries.

Other items needed to keep a cruise ship running such as spare parts are typically purchased in terms of reliability of the parts, the response time of the supplier(s) in case of emergency and price.

While in my first experience it seemed the cruise ship transitioned flawlessly from breakfast to lunch to dinner, there was a great deal of moving parts continuously churning to keep the boat afloat so to speak.  In this case, the ratio of guests to employees was approximately 3 to 1.  Between janitorial workers, cooks, waiters and other crew members, it is extremely impressive to keep so many people satisfied on one massive ship.

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Published On: September 24th, 2020Comments Off on Procurement for Cruise Ships
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