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APL plans a test this summer of the "cold-ironing" process to curb vessel exhaust emissions. The shipping company plans an 18-hour test aboard the container vessel APL China at the Port of Oakland.
"We're hopeful that this will be a significant step forward in improving coastal air quality," says APL Americas President John Bowe.
Cold-ironing isn't new. The concept calls for vessels to connect to a clean shoreside electrical power source while docked, enabling them to shut down their diesel-powered generators. That would eliminate more than 1,000 pounds of exhaust pollutants in a single containership port call.
Because of the potential environmental benefits, port authorities and air quality regulators have embraced cold-ironing. But the maritime industry has been wary, citing safety, operational and cost concerns in making cumbersome cable connections from ship to shore-especially for the large percentage of the world's existing container fleet that hasn't been constructed with cold-ironing in mind.
Bowe said APL's new concept should substantially reduce those concerns. Engineers at APL have devised a plan to connect a single high-voltage cable from a shoreside power source to the vessel's bow thruster circuit.
Bowe estimates that APL's plan can eliminate 1,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides emissions, 70 pounds of sulfur oxides and 15 pounds of particulate matter in a single 24-hour port call.
In an unrelated development, APL has beefed up its U.S.-Central America services with the addition of a third vessel string.
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