Port of Seattle Requires All Homeported Cruise Ships to Use Shore Power

Port of seattle shore power
Courtesy Port of Seattle

Published Jun 12, 2024 11:55 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Port of Seattle has become the first port in the United States to require that every homeported cruise ship must use shore power. It follows after a similar rule imposed by the state of California, but is the first time that a port has imposed such a requirement independently. 

The port's commission passed the new rule on Tuesday, and it will take effect in the 2027 season. This is three years earlier than anticipated by the port's climate plan. 

“In passing this order, the commission turns the port’s 2030 goal of universal shore power use into a 2027 requirement, which is only possible due to the significant investments made by the cruise industry and the port," said Port Commissioner Fred Felleman. "Marketing such investments should also appeal to the environmental interests of travelers who have chosen to cruise to Alaska."

When cruise ships use shore power, they cut their emissions at berth by about 80 percent, according to the port. This saved emissions equaling about 2,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the 2023 season, the port said. 

To make this possible, the port is extending shore power service to Pier 66, and it should be available to cruise ships there as of this summer. With the completion of this project, all of the port's cruise berths will be shore power-capable, six years ahead of schedule. 

The shore power initiative is one aspect of Seattle's "Green Corridor" project with its partner seaports in British Columbia and Alaska. All Seattle-based cruise ships depart for the Inside Passage and Southeast Alaska, calling in either Vancouver or Victoria, and the recurrent port calls make the route amenable for installing and using sustainable fuel infrastructure. 

"We appreciate the leadership shown by the Port of Seattle to move ocean going ships off of fossil fuels by committing to transition 100% of homeported cruise vessels to shore power. And, we call on other ports to follow the leadership of the Port of Seattle to move ports and shipping to a zero-emissions future," said Fern Uennatornwaranggoon, Climate Campaign Director for Ports at Pacific Environment.