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Seattle first U.S. port to require all cruise ships to use shore power

The Port of Seattle has become the first port in the United States to independently require that 100% of all cruise vessels homeported in Seattle be shore power capable and utilize shore power. The order passed by the Port of Seattle Commission  takes effect in the 2027 cruise season, three years before the Port’s previous goal of 2030.

“Ensuring all homeported cruise ships utilize shore power by incorporating a requirement in our commercial agreements, the Port continues to demonstrate how we can generate economic opportunities while minimizing our impact on communities and the climate,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman, who sponsored the order.

“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 on both the ships and shoreside facilities. Marketing such investments should also appeal to the environmental interests of travelers who have chosen to cruise to Alaska.”

Plugging into shore power reduces diesel emissions from cruise vessels at berth by 80% on average. During the 2023 season, cruise ships using shore power avoided emitting 2,700 metric tons of greenhouse gases and 0.75 metric tons of diesel particulate matter — the equivalent of nearly 650 passenger cars driving for a year.

The Port is finalizing the electrification of Pier 66 and plans to connect cruise ships to shore power there this summer. This milestone will make shore power available at all three Seattle cruise berths, which will achieve the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy goal to electrify all cruise berths by 2030, six years early. It will make Seattle one of the first cruise ports to offer shore power at all of its multiple berths.

In 2004, the Port of Seattle, through investments by Carnival Corporation, became the first homeport in North America to offer shore power at two cruise berths. Carnival and other cruise operators continue to utilize those infrastructure investments, with 66% of cruise calls equipped to plug in.

The Port also continues to work in partnership with cruise ports in Alaska, Victoria, BC, and Vancouver, BC, and the cruise industry to explore the world’s first cruise-focused Green Corridor from Seattle to Alaska, using innovative decarbonization strategies.

(Photo by Port of Seattle)