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APL has embarked on a clean-air effort that's part of California's maritime future. The Singapore-based container shipping line has shut down or "cold-ironed" a vessel's engines to eliminate exhaust emissions at the Port of Oakland. As others follow suit - and regulators say they must - cold-ironing will become a staple on California's coast.
"We have brought cold-ironing to the port," said Americas President Gene Seroka. "When others do as well, we can further reduce vessel emissions and re-enforce that global trade growth is sustainable."
The 900-foot APL Singapore switched off its auxiliary diesel engines after berthing at APL's Global Gateway Central terminal. It was the official launch of an APL program to cold-iron five vessels this year in the trans-Pacific trade between Asia and the U.S.
Here is how cold-ironing works:
• Ships at berth connect via large cables to the landside power grid for electricity.
• The vessels then shut down auxiliary engines that have historically been used to power shipboard electrical systems.
• With engines switched off, approximately 1,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides emissions - a leading component of smog -- 165 pounds of sulfur oxides, and 30 pounds of particulate matter are eliminated in a 24-hour port call.
APL expects cold-ironing to eradicate 50,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides emissions from its ships annually in Oakland. Emissions of particulate matter should drop by 1,500 pounds a year.
The state of California has mandated cold-ironing for container ships by 2014. At that time, half of a carrier's fleet must rely on shore power when berthed in California ports. APL is one of only a handful of carriers currently cold-ironing in California, and the only one in Oakland.
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