Ports of Auckland Challenged on Shore Power Plan

The Carnival Spirit is based year-round in Australia (photo: Clyde Dickens)

Ports of Auckland (POAL) has announced that it has decided to adopt the recommendation of a recent study to plan for shore power, which it said will have an estimated cost of some $18.3 million and the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31 percent.

Commenting on POAL’s decision, however, CLIA Australasia’s managing director Joel Katz stated that a key strategy of the major cruise lines in meeting the IMO requirements is the adoption of exhaust gas cleaning system technology to achieve emission reductions. But, with the advancements in cleaner fuels and emissions abatement systems, he said, the usefulness of shore power will likely decline over time, and it should not be assumed that the next generation of cruise ships will be designed and built as shore power enabled, he said.

Katz added that it was worth noting that the Ports of Auckland said it will carry out further work on shore power, including a detailed cost estimate, a cost-benefit analysis and an investigation of funding options so there is still a lot discussion to be had with industry.

According to the POAL, cruise ships were selected for the study as the cruise industry has been proactive at addressing environmental issues over the past decade and these vessels are more frequently fitted with the on-board infrastructure required. This, combined with high individual electricity demand while at berth (compared to other vessel types), is expected to increase utilization and deliver the highest emission reduction return.

The study looked at the feasibility of a wide range of emission reduction technologies, including:  shore power (grid supplied, local generation including renewables, hybrid); fuel switching (methanol, LNG, low sulfur diesel); land/barge based exhaust capture systems; and ship based scrubbers.

Viable solutions were assessed against a range of social and environmental attributes in addition to whole of life cost. This holistic approach was adopted to provide a balanced assessment of the alternatives, with consideration of the stakeholder values.

The report recommended two options: To implement shore power at one cruise berth in the next five years; and/or fuel switching to 0.1% sulfur fuel.

The report or the recommendation did not address the issue, however, that very few of the ships currently sailing year-round or seasonally from Australia are equipped to plug in.

The Carnival Spirit and Legend, for example, are not shore power enabled, according to Carnival Australia.

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