The Port of Seattle will become the first in the US to require all cruise ships based at the west coast city to use shore power after passing new rules that will come into force in 2027. 

The Washington port had originally planned to enforce the rules for homeported vessels from 2030, but the Port of Seattle Commission said it had moved the date forward after seeing significant investments into the technology. 

Commissioner Fred Fellman said: “By ensuring all homeported cruise ships utilise shore power by incorporating a requirement in our commercial agreements, the Port continues to demonstrate how we can generate economic opportunities while minimizing our impact on communities and the climate.” 

Seattle’s industry-leading step continues the port’s role at the forefront of shore power development in the US after it became the first in the country to offer the technology when Carnival Corporation installed its infrastructure in 2004. 

The use of shore power, when cruise ships plug into electric power at the port while docked, has become a key solution the industry has turned to as it seeks to reduce its emissions and improve cruising’s reputation on sustainability. 

According to Seattle, which is currently finalising the electrification and introduction of shore power at its last cruise berth, using the technology can reduce diesel emission from cruise vessels at berth by an average of 80%. 

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Port Commission President Hamdi Mohamed described increased use of shore power as a “critical strategy for slashing emissions”, he said: “Given our sustained investments in shore power, we must ensure that homeported vessels plug in when they are berthed at our piers.” 

In addition to ensuring all three of its berths can supply shore power by the end of 2024, Seattle is also developing the industry’s first cruise-focused green corridor in collaboration with other ports along the route between Washington and Alaska. 

While shore-to-ship power is currently limited to ports that can have cruise ships dock next to a berth, a project in the UK is currently working on a cold-ironing buoy designed to deliver power to vessels at anchorage.