There seems to be a growing movement at several US ports on the West Coast, as well as ports around the world, that support the usage of shore power. Essentially, shore power is a substitution for vessels that are berthed at the ports. With shore power, the ports build and maintain electrical substations for the vessels to use. The goal of shore power is to limit diesel fuel usage at the ports, which results in diesel emissions that can harm people and the environment. These electrical substations are said to reduce diesel emissions by 95%. And there are new regulations in California regarding emission levels at the ports.
There are some financial concerns that shippers, carriers and freight forwarders have with shore power projects. The ports are currently investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this electrical technology. As a result, the ports charge the shipping companies hundreds of dollars per vessel each hour of electrical usage, including a first-time fee worth thousands of dollars. In turn, these added expenses could be passed onto the shippers in the form of higher ocean freight shipping rates. Environmentally, any benefits from shore power are offset by the electrical power plants that are still polluting.
The Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles are testing out a new alternative that could save money. American Shipper magazine reports of this new alternative technology at the ports that grabs the vessel emissions and funnels them into an after-treatment device. Hopefully, the tests for this new device are successful so that the industry can benefit from the possible cost-savings.