January 18, 2010

Cold-ironing to have electrifying effect on California port

APL's switch to electrified berths at Port of Oakland expected to cut vessel emissions by 50,000 pounds a year.

By DC Velocity Staff

The air around the Port of Oakland is about to get cleaner, thanks to the efforts of global shipping company APL and California's Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The $11 million project will reduce vessel emissions of nitrogen oxides by about 50,000 pounds and eliminate 1,500 pounds of particulate matter annually.

APL received $4.8 million in grants from the air quality management board to help it retrofit its terminal and ships to begin "cold-ironing" at the port. Cold-ironing is industry jargon for shutting down a ship's diesel generators while at berth and connecting instead to electrical sources located onshore. Doing so enables vessels to maintain power in port while eliminating exhaust emissions. Regulations mandating cold-ironing in California take effect in 2014.

In December, APL began outfitting five vessels that call regularly in Oakland for cold-ironing. Later this year, the carrier will electrify its berths at the Global Gateway Central marine terminal in Oakland. Once that work is completed, cold-ironing will begin.

According to APL, cold-ironing eliminates an estimated 1,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides emissions, 165 pounds of sulfur oxides, and 30 pounds of particulate matter in a 24-hour port call. The vessels the company will retrofit make a total of 52 calls to Oakland annually.

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