Port of Seattle Mandates Shore Power for All Homeported Cruise Ships

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The Port of Seattle has become the first port in the U.S. to independently mandate that 100% of all cruise vessels homeported in Seattle be shore-power capable and utilize shore power by 2027. The new order was passed by the Port of Seattle Commission.

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

Shore Power Connections
Shore Power Connections (Photo Courtesy: Port of Seattle)

Felleman went on to acknowledge the mandate advances the previous goal set for 2030 by three years, citing the investments made by the cruise industry as enabling the decision.

“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,” said Felleman.

The Commissioner also noted that the change would appeal to the environmental interests of travelers cruising to Alaska, as Seattle is a frequent homeport for the region. 

Currently, the world’s largest cruise lines operate heavily out of Seattle to visit Alaska, including Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Ocean Cruises, and Carnival Corporation, which has three Carnival Cruise Line ships, two Princess Cruises and Holland America Line ships, and one Cunard Line ship sailing out of the Port of Seattle this season alone.

The mandate would require all cruise lines planning 2027 itineraries to employ ships with shore power capabilities. 

Only 30% of today’s ships, representing 40% of capacity, are currently able to handle shoreside power capabilities, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

It said all CLIA-member ships constructed through 2028 are being fitted with shoreside power capabilities.

“Cruise lines are committed to connecting to shoreside electricity when it is available and to working closely with ports to make this possible,” said CLIA Germany’s National Director, Helge Grammerstorf.

CLIA Supports Ports Utilizing Shore Power

CLIA is a champion of cruise ports updating their infrastructure to provide shore power, highlighting that emissions are reduced by up to 99%, greenhouse gases are reduced by more than 20%, soot particles by 98%, sulfur oxides by 99%, and nitrogen oxides by 85%.

However, it says only 3% of ports will have shoreside power by 2025.

The Port of Seattle’s announcement means the Pacific Northwest port will be the first in the U.S. to require shore power connections. Currently, the port offers two shore power connections at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91. 

Cruise Ship Docked at Port of Seattle
Cruise Ship Docked at Port of Seattle (Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators)

Its Pier 66 cruise berth is expanding to add shore power before the end of the 2024 season, which means each cruise berth operated by the Port of Seattle will have shore power connections this year.

CLIA’s 2023 State of the Industry Report revealed only 29 ports globally offer at least one cruise berth with shoreside power. In the U.S., Seattle is one of nine ports offering partial shoreside power. The others are Brooklyn, New York; Juneau, Alaska; Miami, Florida; and Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco, California. 

Read Also: Cruise Ships Refrain From Using Shore Power

The Port of Miami is the first U.S. port on the eastern seaboard to offer shore power to five cruise berths. Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will add shore power to eight cruise berths.

In the European Union, all essential ports will be required to use shore power connections by 2030 as part of the EU’s Fit for 55 program.

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