Singapore-based container shipping line APL became the first to cold-iron a vessel’s engines to eliminate exhaust emissions at the Port of Oakland, California. As others follow suit—as regulators require—cold-ironing will become a staple on California’s coast.
The 900-foot (274-meter) APL Singapore switched off its auxiliary diesel engines after berthing at APL’s Global Gateway Central terminal. It was the official launch of an APL program to cold-iron five vessels this year in the Transpacific Trade between Asia and the US.
In cold-ironing, ships at berth connect via large cables to the landside power grid for electricity. The vessels then shut down auxiliary engines that have historically been used to power shipboard electrical systems. With engines switched off, approximately 1,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides emissions, 165 pounds of sulfur oxides, and 30 pounds of particulate matter are eliminated in a 24-hour port call.
APL expects cold-ironing to eradicate 50,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides emissions from its ships annually in Oakland. Emissions of particulate matter should drop by 1,500 pounds a year.
The state of California has mandated cold-ironing for container ships by 2014. At that time, half of a carrier’s fleet must rely on shore power when berthed in California ports. APL is one of only a handful of carriers currently cold-ironing in California, and the only one in Oakland.
APL spent $11 million to retrofit the five container vessels and re-wire its terminal for cold-ironing. It was awarded $4.8 million in California Air Resources Board grants by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to complete the project.
APL is a global container shipping business offering more than 80 weekly services and more than 500 calls at more than 140 ports worldwide. APL is a unit of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), global shipping and logistics company.