Ports Power Docked Ships with Electricity

Port of Los Angeles

by | May 23, 2013

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Port of Los AngelesAll 13 international cargo terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach will power docked ships with electricity by the end of this year, cutting air pollution from the ships at berth by 95 percent, according to the Port of Long Beach.

The infrastructure to supply shore power — also known as cold ironing or alternative marine power (AMP) — is being installed in support of clean air initiatives led by the two ports and the California Air Resources Board.

CARB has mandated that by Jan. 1, 2014, half of all visits by container cargo, refrigerated cargo and cruise vessels must be powered by electricity. The rule applies to fleets making at least 25 visits per year to California ports.

Currently, most ships power themselves while at berth by continuously running on-board auxiliary diesel engines during visits that typically last about 24 hours. Ships are the single largest source of port-related pollutants, including particulate matter, sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrous oxides.

About half the terminals in the ports already offer shore power in at least some of their berths.

The Port of Los Angeles last year adopted an international clean air program that pays a monetary reward to ocean carriers for bringing their newest, most efficient and lowest emission vessels to port. The port was the first seaport in North America and the Pacific Rim to agree to such a program, based on the Environmental Ship Index, a web-based tool developed by the World Ports Climate Initiative. At the time, the Port of Los Angeles estimated that if the predicted 30 percent of vessels qualify for participation, this would cut diesel particulate matter emissions by 16 tons within the first year, and reduce emissions of other pollutants such as carbon dioxide and sulfur oxides.

The Port of Los Angeles reported last August that its cumulative emissions have dropped as much as 76 percent while container volumes increase 6 percent between 2005 and 2011. On a year-to-year basis, the port’s 2011 Inventory of Air Emissions shows a decrease up to 7 percent of emissions.

Photo Credit: Port of Los Angeles

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