New York cruise terminals’ shore power comes closer

2024-03-27T19:18:04+00:00 March 27th, 2024|Environment|

Earlier this month, the New York City Council voted to pass legislation requiring cruise ships with shore power capability to connect to shore power, where such connections are available and it is safe and practicable to do so.

Cruise ships docked at the City’s terminals often run diesel engines while berthed, generating harmful emissions that impact surrounding communities, the Council said.

Shore power allows ships to cease operating their engines and plug into electrical grid power while at a berth.

“(Today), the Council is passing critical legislation to protect and support residents who live in communities surrounding our city’s terminals,” said Council Speaker, Adrienne Adams.

“By requiring cruise ships to connect to shore power, this law will limit harmful emissions and mitigate pollution, noise, and other impacts on local neighbourhoods.”

This move would alter the terms of the contract between the City and the NYC Economic Development Corp (EDC) to require EDC to compel cruise terminal operators to mandate cruise ships with shore power capability to connect to available shore power systems when berthed.

EDC would also be required to create and regularly update community traffic mitigation plans in the neighbourhoods around each terminal, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, the Police Department, and the local residents.

The plans would outline strategies to reduce pollution, noise, and other disruptions from passenger movements to and from cruise terminals.

By altering EDC’s cruise terminal operating contracts, the bill intends to reduce emissions from ships at berth while addressing community impacts through traffic mitigation plans, the Council said.

The Port of New York, which encompasses the cruise terminals at Red Hook and in Midtown Manhattan, is the third largest cruise market in the US and one of the busiest cruise and shipping ports in the country.

While the Brooklyn Ferry Terminal has the capacity to handle shore power, it remains underutilised, and the Manhattan Terminal lacks shore power capability altogether.

Support for shore power capacity would greatly lower emissions, reduce the carbon footprint, and create an advantage to the ship operator by reducing the overall costs in the field.

“From the jump, the effort to pass ‘Introduction 4-A, the Our Air Our Water Act’, was organised by and for Red Hook first and to the benefit of the city as a whole,” added Council Member, Alexa Aviles.

“This is a community-led victory that’s been years in the making, a step toward righting historical wrongs, and I’m grateful to play a part in its passage. I’m also grateful to Majority Leader Farias and Speaker Adams for prioritising it so early in the term, as well as co-sponsor Bottcher for his partnership on the legislation.

“With our air and water at stake, I remain committed to putting community health needs over the corporate greed of the cruise ship industry and last mile polluters. This fight is far from over,” she said.