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.