Shore Power "Still a Valid Option," says Port

Wednesday May 27, 2015

Several industry players have voiced their support for shore power technology saying it is "still a valid option" for reducing at-berth vessel emissions and offers advantages over simply using low sulfur fuels, The Maritime Executive reports.

The comments follow reports last week that James Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority called the so-called cold ironing technology "a last-generation solution" that had been made obsolete by the increase in availability and use of low sulfur fuels.  

Peter McGraw, spokesman for the Port of Seattle, was quoted as saying: "Nothing compares to the benefits of zero emissions by connecting the vessel to shore power and shutting down the vessel's engines while the ship is at the dock."

McGraw also mentions that investment in shore power systems at ports continues in the U.S., Canada, and worldwide.

"So all being said shore power does not appear to be dying-out," McGraw claimed.

Chris Cannon, Director of Environmental Management for the Port of Los Angeles, argued that overall emissions and potential health risk are significantly reduced in Southern California when using electricity to power ships at berth rather than having the ships run on low sulfur fuel.

Annik Dirkx, spokeswoman for the port of Antwerp said, "For auxiliaries, the use of cold ironing is still a valid option, because this is not necessarily combined with or connected to the main engine that can run on [liquified natural gas] (LNG) or with scrubbers."

The Port of Antwerp currently offers financial incentives for ships to use shore power at its Independent Maritime Terminal and select berths.

Masao Yamasaki, representative of International Maritime Organization (IMO), noted in a recent conference that IMO's plan to make shore power mandatory in 2012 was dropped only because not enough ports were ready for the technology.

Cold ironing also need not be mutually exclusive to alternatives fuels.

Last year an LNG-powered cold ironing barge came into service at the port of Hamburg.