It is crucial for the ocean freight shipping industry to try to lower the emissions and pollution from the ships. Growing regulations, such as from the International Maritime Organization, are one important reason, but there are also environmental and health concerns that are reasons as well. One practice, called shorepower, might result in fewer emissions from the ships. With shorepower, ocean freight vessels would use electrical power at the port while at berth. By using electrical power, the diesel fuel source on the ships is turned off, and this will reduce emissions at the port. This process is also called cold ironing; this term stems from the history of ocean vessels when coal and iron engines were in use.

Starting in 2014, all ports in California are now regulating shorepower, requiring ships to participate in it so that the emissions levels can decrease. This program began at the Port of Los Angeles with the name Alternative Maritime Power (AMP). The California Air Resources Board pushed for the cold ironing regulations, as well as low sulfur fuel requirements. Currently, the program has been a smashing success at reducing port emissions. However, the impact on ocean container rates from the regulations has yet to be seen. If the program continues to work in California, then it is possible that other ports from the United States and around the World could also adapt similar regulations. Contact your trusted freight forwarder to better understand the impact of cold ironing at the ports on your shipments.