Hong Kong Pulls Plug on Cruise Terminal Shore Power System

Friday May 29, 2015

Plans to provide shore power at Hong Kong's Kai Tak terminal have been temporarily postponed on the grounds that few cruise liners could or would use the costly system, the South China Morning Post reports.

Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department said that such facilities would cause the two-berth terminal to be "significantly under utilized".

The Department found that providing shore power at Kai Tak would take 60 months to prepare, HK$315 million ($40 million) to build, and cost up to HK$14 million ($1.8 million) per year to operate.

In a report to be discussed at a Legislative Council environmental affairs panel next week, the Department also found that out of the 60 cruise terminals in the Asia Pacific, only five ports were considering on-shore power supply in the coming five to 10 years, and only 35 international cruise ships would be equipped with on-shore power systems by the end of this year.

The Department said, "The high cost outlay, coupled with low interest of cruise liners in equipping their vessels with OPS, are not conducive to the installation of OPS systems."

It added that setting up shore power "is not a priority task among cruise ports in the Asia Pacific region and this will likely remain so in the foreseeable future." 

The report said most cruise ships believe it would be more cost-effective to switch to cleaner fuel at berth.

Earlier this month, representatives of the ports of Seattle, Los Angeles, and other facilities voiced their support for shore power technology, saying it's still a valid option for reducing at-berth vessel emissions and offers advantages over simply using low sulfur fuels.

The comments followed reports that the president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, James Newsome, said the technology "has really been rendered as a last-generation solution at most major ports."