LA powers on with port electrification

A cargo ship being unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles.

One of the biggest challenges for ports is finding ways to meet the growing demand for trade while cutting emissions and building a cleaner, more efficient supply chain.

That means making port operations as environmentally sustainable as possible is critical and the Port of Los Angeles is attempting this with the use of alternative maritime power (AMP), also known as shore-side power or cold ironing.

As part of its efforts the Port has worked very closely alongside the City of Los Angeles and several private sector partners, including Cavotec and Square D Schneider on developing and expanding its AMP capabilities.

AMP is the process of providing shore-side electricity to a vessel at port while its main and auxiliary engines are turned off. The Port currently has 79 AMP vaults, the areas where vessels plug in, across its operations, including container, cruise and bulk terminals.

The Port is working to increase that number and use of AMP even further and has plans to complete its cruise AMP capabilities by 2023.

Speaking to PTI the Port said its partnership with Cavotec has helped it expand its AMP operations from container to cruise terminals, and that Square D Schneider will provide the technology for its bigger future network.

Los Angeles has been one of the pioneers in the advancement of AMP and has developed its own unique AMP to allow vessels that run on diesel power to ‘plug in’ to an electrical power source.

It initially opened its AMP network at the West Basin Container Terminal in July 2004 after extensive work with China Shipping Container Line.

In August 2004, the NYK Atlas, a container ship built to AMP specifications, became the first to use the AMP network at the Port. The practice is now compulsory for all vessels calling at the Port of LA after regulations passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2007.

Combined with other practices, such as the use of scrubbers and alternative fuels including liquified natural gas (LNG), AMP can drastically reduce the emissions of a ship, port and city.

The electricity is provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. By the Port utilising AMP the City of Los Angeles can also benefit from lower emissions, and this is one of the biggest examples of city and port authorities collaborating to reduce emissions.

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