Homeported Seattle cruise ships to be connected to shore power

2024-06-15T08:19:32+00:00 June 15th, 2024|Environment|

The Port of Seattle has become the first port in the US to independently require that 100% of all cruise vessels homeported be shore power capable and utilise shore power.

The order passed by the Port of Seattle Commission this month takes effect in the 2027 cruise season, three years before the Port’s previous goal of 2030.

“Ensuring all homeported cruise ships utilise shore power by incorporating a requirement in our commercial agreements, the Port continues to demonstrate how we can generate economic opportunities while minimising our impact on communities and the climate,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner, Fred Felleman, who sponsored the order.

“In passing this order, the Commission turns the Port’s 2030 goal of universal shore power use into a 2027 requirement, which is only possible due to the significant investments made by the cruise industry and the port on both the ships and shoreside facilities.

“Marketing such investments should also appeal to the environmental interests of travellers who have chosen to cruise to Alaska,” he said.

“I proudly co-sponsored this order, which highlights our Commission’s steadfast focus on advancing shore power — a critical strategy for slashing emissions in the maritime sector. Given our sustained investments in shore power, we must ensure that homeported vessels plug in when they are berthed at our piers,” added Port of Seattle Commission President, Hamdi Mohamed.

“This order is a robust policy that demonstrates our commitment to accountability and oversight of this sustainability strategy.”

Plugging into shore power reduces diesel emissions from cruise vessels moored at a berth by 80% on average. During the 2023 season, cruise ships using shore power avoided emitting 2,700 tonnes of greenhouse gases and 0.75 tonnes of diesel particulate matter — the equivalent of nearly 650 passenger cars driving for a year.

The Port is finalising the electrification of Pier 66 and plans to connect cruise ships to shore power at the berth this summer.

This will make shore power available at all three Seattle cruise berths, which will achieve the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy goal to electrify all cruise berths by 2030, six years early.

It will also make Seattle one of the first cruise ports to offer shore power at all of its multiple berths.

In 2004, the Port of Seattle, through investments by Carnival Corp, became the first homeport in North America to offer shore power at two cruise berths. Carnival and other cruise operators continue to utilise the infrastructure investments, with 66% of cruise calls equipped to plug in.

The Port also continues to work in partnership with cruise ports in Alaska, Victoria, BC, and Vancouver, BC, and the cruise industry to explore the world’s first cruise-focused Green Corridor from Seattle to Alaska, using de-carbonisation strategies.

The Port of Seattle has also launched a cruise dashboard to track passenger, environmental, and economic impact metrics.