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APL first shipping line to cold-iron in Oakland

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.



expensive retrofit


Ships have a long service life (25-30 years) in which to pay it back.


Asthma attacks and cancer are expensive, too.

Nick Lyons

This is a huge win for the air basins around Oakland and Long Beach.

This is a perfect example of good regulation, IMHO. It requires business to internalize a cost that has heretofore been imposed on the wider community while maintaining a level playing field, since everyone has to play by the same rules.


This makes a lot of common sense and could have been done 100+ years ago.


When you consider all the port traffic, they had to do something. Studies showed where a lot of the pollution was coming from. We import enough already, we do not need to import pollution as well.


"we do not need to import pollution as well."

OTOH it's bad enough that we export it.

If we could bring back manufacturing to North America (with its high environmental standards) we'd reduce pollution all around.


12 years ago I lived in Long Beach and the soot that came through the windows was pretty bad.


ai_vin...did you (wrongly) assume that our manufacturing facilities would clean up their act and reduce their profit margin? Dreamer....


Some will say boards offshored for cheap labor and lower environmental regulations. It meant more profits when they were already making good profits. They just wrote off the offshoring expenses and the tax payers subsidized it.

Stan Peterson

Harvey D,

Did you assume that goverment green-weinies have cleansed the North American environment, all by themselves?

Or that the clean Air in North America is a neo- Druidic Gaian miracle?

Why don't you open your eyes.

Government is the problem most of the time, and not the solution. The government has wasted more than three times the cost of actually cleaning up the two hundred most polluted sites in the country, in "administrative costs", without so much as lifting a single spadeful of dirt.

Industry actually cleaned them up...

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