Shore power: Sailing towards a greener future

CFR highlights a selection of ports installing shore power facilities around the world

Shore power: Sailing towards a greener future
There are currently 34 ports worldwide which have at least one cruise berth equipped with onshore power

By Laura Hyde |

Cruise ports and operators across the globe are adopting modern technologies and upgrading vessel fleets to ensure the industry becomes more environmentally friendly in the future.  

For ports, one of the most significant developments is in the growing movement towards installing shore side electricity (SSE) systems, which allow ship engines to be switched off to reduce in-port emissions by up to 98 per cent. 

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) net-zero goals and fuel targets have put sustainable operations firmly on the agenda for cruise ports, making an investment in onshore power systems increasingly attractive. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s 2023 Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Report, there are currently 34 ports worldwide which have at least one cruise berth equipped with onshore power, with a further 24 projects funded and an additional 16 projects in the planning stages.  

There are 120 ships in the global fleet fitted with SSE systems, representing 45.5 per cent of CLIA member ships, up from 24 per cent in 2018. The CLIA report predicts this will increase to 71.1 per cent by 2028, thanks to 35 newbuilds, which will be fitted with SSE systems, and retrofitting projects scheduled for a further 67 ships.  

Miami, Florida, USA 

The Shore Power Program is a partnership between PortMiami, its cruise partners (Carnival Corporation, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Group, and Virgin Voyages) and Florida Power and Light Company. Upon completion by end of 2023, shore power capability will be available at five cruise terminals with the ability to plug in three ships at a time. In 2021, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava launched an initiative to bring shore power to PortMiami in collaboration with major cruise line partners. 

Seattle, Washington, USA 

The Port of Seattle has a shore power-connected berth at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, and a project is underway to install shore power at the Pier 66 cruise berth, which aims to be ready for use in 2024. The port has also set a goal to have 100 per cent of homeporting cruise ships equipped with shore power capability, and to have these connected on every call, by 2030 or sooner. 

San Diego, California, USA 

At the Port of San Diego, two cruise ships can simultaneously use shore power. With a cruise season featuring around 100 port calls and 340,000 passengers, shore power has enabled the port to honour its commitment to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on and around San Diego Bay.  

Portsmouth, UK 

Portsmouth International Port has secured a £19.8 million ($24 million) grant to design, build and operate a shore power system across its three busiest berths. The grant comes from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition, funded by the UK government and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. Portsmouth City hopes to reach net carbon neutral status by 2030.

Southampton, UK 

Associated British Ports (ABP)’s Port of Southampton shore power facility opened in April 2022. The total cost of the project was £9 million ($10.9 million), supported by a grant from the Solent Local Growth Deal and arranged through the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. ABP worked with PowerCon as the main contractor to implement the scheme on site.

Kiel, Germany 

The Port of Kiel’s first shore power supply plant has been operational at the Norwegenkai since May 2019 supplying Color Line ferries. This ensures 44 per cent of the energy demand of the vessels berthing in the port of Kiel are covered in an emission-free and climate-neutral way. The port uses 100 per cent green power when supplying its customers with shore power through the new shore power plant, which was officially inaugurated on 25 September 2023 during a port call by MSC Cruises’ flagship MSC Euribia. 

Barcelona, Spain 

The Port of Barcelona has put out to tender the construction of an electrical substation as part of the Nexigen Project, which will allow the port to provide power to its quays. The works will have a budget of €14 million ($17 million) and will include the design of the substation, the management and execution of its completion, and the maintenance and operation of the substation for two years after construction. Construction is expected to be completed in 2025. 

Tarragona, Spain 

Port of Tarragona is finalising the preliminary planning stages of a shore power project at the Balears Wharf, which it hopes to begin in 2025, with operations beginning in 2027, with a power of 48 megawatts. 

Valencia, Spain 

The Port Authority of Valencia (APV) aims to become an emission neutral port by 2030. Construction of a new passenger terminal equipped with shore power is underway and MSC Group plans to expand its shore power at the port before 2026. “The decarbonisation of the ports is already an unstoppable and urgent process,” says Mar Chao, APV president.  

Trondheim, Norway 

Trondheim Port has delivered shore power to Hurtigruten Expeditions ships more than 20 times since 2022, serving 50 hertz and up to 2.5 megawatts. The development has driven the port to plan a shore power facility at the main cruise pier, catering to all ship sizes and needs. 

In alignment with its strategy, the port aims to have these facilities operational by 2026, making a commitment to environmental sustainability and a cleaner maritime future. 

Stockholm, Sweden 

Ports of Stockholm is investing in shore power connection facilities for cruise ships at two city centre quays. Building the facilities at two berths at Stadsgården makes Ports of Stockholm the first port in Sweden to offer cruise ships a shore power connection. The environmental initiative, in collaboration with other Baltic Sea ports, will result in significantly lower emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollutant particles from the cruise ships in Stockholm and the Baltic Sea area. The plants will be ready during the 2024 cruise season. 

Aarhus, Denmark

In June 2023 Port of Aarhus opened its first shore power facility for cruise ships by successfully connecting AIDA Cruises’ AIDAmar to shore power. The port’s investment in shore power is part of a wider sustainability strategy, which aims to make the port the most sustainable in the Baltic Region.  

Copenhagen, Denmark 

Copenhagen Malmo Port (CMP) inaugurated its first shore power facility in October 2021 in partnership with the Danish company, DFDS Seaways. CMP has since partnered with the Municipality of Copenhagen and By & Havn to establish shore power for cruise ships at both the Langelinie and Oceankaj terminals in Ydre Nordhavn.

This article was first published in the 2024 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.

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