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PortMiami: Miami-Dade sets sail on sustainability with shore power launch

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava launches shore power at PortMiami, making it the first major US eastern seaboard port with this eco-friendly tech for cruise ships

Miami-Dade County took a significant step towards a greener future for its cruise industry with the upcoming launch of shore power at PortMiami. This innovative initiative, spearheaded by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, has made PortMiami the first major cruise port on the U.S. eastern seaboard to offer shore power capability at five cruise berths. The official launch ceremony was on June 17, 2024.

Stay tuned to learn more.

What is shore power?

Shore power, known as cold ironing, allows docked cruise ships to connect to the electrical grid and switch off their auxiliary engines. This significantly reduces air and noise pollution massive ships generate while berthed. Cruise ships, which can consume as much electricity as a small city, rely on their diesel engines to power essential functions like lighting, refrigeration, and onboard operations.

The implementation of shore power at PortMiami is a collaborative effort between various stakeholders. Key partners include leading cruise lines, Carnival Corporation & plc, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Royal Caribbean Group, and Virgin Voyages, along with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). This collaboration signifies a collective commitment to environmental sustainability within the cruise industry.

Women speaking at shore power event.

Environmental benefits

The environmental benefits of shore power are undeniable. Studies estimate that using shore power while docked can reduce emissions by as much as 80% compared to running auxiliary engines. This translates to a significant decrease in air pollutants like sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which may cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Additionally, shore power reduces noise pollution, creating a more pleasant experience for passengers and dockside personnel.

Economic advantages

Beyond environmental gains, shore power offers economic advantages. By relying less on onboard fuel, cruise lines can potentially achieve cost savings. Furthermore, PortMiami's status as a leader in shore power technology could position it as a more attractive destination for environmentally conscious cruise lines and passengers.

Challenges and considerations

While the adoption of shore power represents a positive step, challenges remain. The infrastructure required to deliver shore power is significant, involving the installation of transformers, converters, and heavy-duty cables. Stakeholders need to share this enormous infrastructure's implementation and maintenance cost responsibly. Additionally, retrofitting existing cruise ships to be shore power compatible may require investment from cruise lines.

A stepping stone to a greener future

The shore power launch at PortMiami is a significant milestone for the cruise industry and Miami-Dade County. It demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility and paves the way for a more sustainable future for the cruise capital of the world. As technology advances and costs decrease, shore power adoption is expected to become more widespread across the industry.

PortMiami - Looking ahead

The PortMiami's shore power program will be under scrutiny for a while. The initiative has the potential to serve as a model for other major cruise ports around the globe, encouraging wider adoption of this environmentally friendly technology. With continued collaboration between industry leaders, government agencies, and power companies, the future of cruising can be cleaner and more sustainable for all.

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Luggage at port being loaded onto a ship.
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