Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2012.
Cold ironing or shoreside power facilities are being installed in several urban cruise terminals to reduce the environmental impact of docked ships. In 2001, the port of Juneau in Alaska was the first in the world to offer shoreside power for cruise vessels. Seattle followed with two installations in 2005 and 2006. In 2009, Port Metro Vancouver also introduced a system to connect ships to the power grid to turn off their engines while docked. It is estimated that for an average cruise ship, some 17,000 liters of fuel can be saved in a 10 hour docking period. In October 2010, San Francisco became the first port in California to offer clean shore power for cruise ships. Los Angeles, San Diego, and Long Beach now provide similar facilities. Also, in Europe, a number of ports have taken initiatives in this area (e.g., Gothenburg, Venice, Barcelona, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, and Hamburg).
A cruise ship requires a fast store loading process since port turns between cruises are relatively short (8 to 12 hours on average). In the above photo, a cruise ship (MS Zuiderdam of Holland America Line) is being serviced at the Port of Vancouver. Because the pier is higher than the cargo door, a lift system is used to lower cargo pallets (mostly food) to the cargo dock level. To mitigate the environmental impacts of cruise ships docked at the cruise terminal adjacent to its central business district, Port Metro Vancouver installed cold ironing facilities (the blue structure on the above photo) in 2009 to provide electric power to ships. This enables a cruise ship to cut its bunker engines and thus considerably reduce its emissions at the cruise port. Alaskan cruises are those relying the most on cold ironing, particularly in light of the environmental sensitivity of the region visited. About 5% of the energy spent on Alaskan cruises is from cold ironing.