APL, a unit of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, has signed an $11m agreement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in California (BAAQMD), US, to cut vessel emissions.

The container carrier said it will modify its terminal and vessels to begin cold ironing at the Port of Oakland by December 2010.

Cold ironing will enable berthed ships to turn off their 2,000hp diesel generators and plug in to onshore electrical sources.

APL said the process will cut more than 50,000lb of nitrogen oxide emissions from ships berthed in Oakland and 1,500lb of particulate matter annually.

The company, which will begin outfitting five vessels in December, has received $4.8m in air quality grants from the BAAQMD.