Shore power shines as ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announce Clean Air Action Plan Awards

Shore power shines as ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announce Clean Air Action Plan Awards

The decisive role one of Cavotec’s benchmark technologies, Alternative Maritime Power (AMP), plays in improving air quality in ports and surrounding communities was highlighted recently as the ports of Los Angeles (POLA) and Long Beach (POLB) announced the fifth annual Clean Air Action Awards.

Six companies were awarded by the ports for their efforts at reducing air pollution, with three of the six receiving commendations primarily for their use of shore power – a technology Cavotec and its partners have played a vital role in developing at both ports.

Companies cited specifically for their use of shore power were global shipping lines APL and Matson Navigation Company, and energy major BP.

Shore power systems enable vessels to switch off their engines while moored and to connect to shore side electricity. Services such as power supply for refrigerated containers, lighting, communication, heating, food preparation and cargo handling are then run directly from the port.

The judging panel praised APL for introducing a range of initiatives and targets designed to optimise its environmental performance, such as powering its vessels with low-sulfur fuel, and for being “an industry leader in using shore power to cut its at-berth emissions.”

BP’s tanker facility at POLB is the only berth of its kind in the world to offer ships shore power connection, a project on which Cavotec engineers were closely involved. According to the ports’ statement, in 2011, emissions of nitrogen oxides at the berth were cut by 56,700 pounds, sulfur oxides by 1,000 pounds, and particulate matter by 2,100 pounds.

Matson container ships regularly use shore power at their Long Beach berths, and last year the company commissioned five vessels fitted with shore power systems.

The other three winners were SA Recycling, for improvements made to its facilities; Harley Marine Services, for, among other initiatives, installing energy efficient engines on its tugs; and Pacific Harbor Line for “replacing the engines in 16 of its locomotives with the cleanest available diesel technology.”

In a statement, POLB Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle said: “We’re delighted to honor these companies for taking the time and effort to successfully reduce their environmental impacts through leadership and quick action.”

According to POLA Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, the measures are having a genuine impact on environmental standards: “We continue to see significant year-over-year pollution reductions at the port complex.”

Cavotec has worked with both POLA and POLB on developing innovative shore power technologies for many years. In the latest phase of this process, we are currently supplying a large number of AMP systems to POLB and the Port of Oakland.

Our naval architects have pioneered several AMP solutions including ship-based systems housed in shipping containers, land-based vault versions and even fully mobile units.

Cavotec’s shore power systems are increasingly widely used at ports on the US west coast, as well as in Canada, Europe and the Far East. The first AMP system became operational at Sweden’s Port of Gothenburg in 1984.

Cavotec’s plug-in for improving air quality


Concern over air quality in ports has led to growing calls on the industry to reduce carbon and nitrogen dioxide emissions. Alternative Maritime Power, AMP™, or ‘cold ironing’, allows ships to turn off their engines when in port, and plug into shore-side electricity supply, thus helping to improve air quality in ports and surrounding communities.

Cavotec’s AMP systems can be fitted on ships, or, space permitting, on quaysides. Click on the above image to see a recent film – on Cavotec’s YouTube Film Channel – of a ship connecting to a Cavotec AMP™ system.

Vessels in port require electrical power to run their onboard systems such as heating, lighting, refrigerating containers and cargo handling. During a single port call, a 7,000 TEU container ship can emit sulphur oxide equivalent to 30,000 cars. While electricity produced by power stations and used by ships in port has 35 times less nitrate oxide and 25 times less particle matter compared to the heavy fuel normally used by ships when docked.

Interest in AMP™ continues to grow: there are currently some 200 operational AMP™ systems on ships, while the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Vancouver, Seattle, Antwerp, Goteborg, Stockholm and several others across northern Europe use the technology.

Cavotec systems are part of a California dream

Cavotec AMP™ in use at Port of Los Angeles (POLA)

Cavotec AMP™ in use at Port of Los Angeles (POLA)

A recent piece in the LA Times profiles the innovative approach that the neighbouring Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are taking to reduce fuel emissions and consumption.  Despite declining revenues and shrinking budgets, both ports have become “accidental venture capitalists in the world of green technology” – they attract, test and even partially find cutting-edge technology that will help to clean up ports.

In the past two years, the ports and their partners have distributed nearly $40 million to stimulate the development of environmentally efficient systems, such as electric trucks, a diesel-electric hybrid tugboat, even a “pollution-sucking apparatus placed over a ship’s smokestack.”  As noted in the article, “The best example is the system used by both ports when ships turn off their diesel engines and plug into shore-side electrical grids to reduce pollution,” – a reference to our very own AMP™!

The Long Beach Mayor observes that this approach is at heart a business opportunity: “How can you meet the same goals, but in a way that is cleaner, faster and maybe less expensive?”

It’s encouraging to see that Cavotec’s answers to that question, i.e. our innovative engineering solutions, are being put to good use for a great cause.

You can read the full article here.