Southampton is on the verge of becoming the first commercial port in the United Kingdom to furnish shore power. Cold ironing technology will be available at two of the city's five cruise ship terminals as mentioned in the port plans, which are expected to come into effect by 2022. Though the project was hampered by technological and financial difficulties, it is in line with a rising trend in Europe and upcoming policies that would force and manipulate all large ships to use shore power to achieve carbon targets.
It was foreseen that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MSC Cruises would be partnering in providing the shore power, which also later came as a confirmation announcement by Southampton in 2020. Customized with the likes of roof-mounted solar power panels and many advanced eco-friendly facilities, the newly built terminal can be seen to welcome its first cruise ship before the end of this year.
In a recent declaration by the association of British Ports, they brought in an amendment to make the current Mayflower cruise terminal a part of their plan. This highly used terminal by the P&O Cruise and Carnival Corporation operated cruise ships, will be experiencing an upsurge in its shore power installations. Given the ‘sustainable cruising’ term, both the companies comply with the fact that shore power will surely provide the Port of Southampton with an extra edge over others.
Recently, ABP signed an investment worth £12 million (approximately $17 million) in the port's Ocean Terminal to serve P&O Cruises' LNG-powered Iona. Iona made her arrival in Southampton for the first time on May 16 for the christening ceremonies. This Meyer Werft-built brilliance was commissioned by P&O Cruises late last year, but due to the halt in sailing, she has remained in Europe until now. She is expected to make her maiden voyage this year as part of the resumption of domestic cruises in the United Kingdom.
"We are incredibly proud to be making another significant step as we further develop our sustainable credentials for a cruise with Carnival UK here in Southampton," said Alastair Welch, Regional Director at the Port of Southampton. "This is good news for the port, for air quality and the future of cruise."
The shore power programme, according to the BBC, has been postponed, and the port has not always been supportive of the plans. Earlier in 2020, ABP also pledged to have shore power by that time. While a 2019 study challenged the environmental advantages of shore power, the port announced in late 2019 that it was going forward with its first installation as soon as infrastructure and investment concerns were addressed.
"What we don't want to do is plug a ship in and brownout the area," Port Director Alastair Welch told the BBC.
HM Government's Local Growth Deal, which grants funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships for initiatives that favour the local region and industry, has supported the latest investment in Southampton - to add shore power to the two terminals. The Solent LEP has contributed to the effort, which suggests that an alternate fuel will be sold or subsidised at one of the port's stalwart cruise terminals.
"We are delighted to see the advance in shore power technology and the fitting of this into the Mayflower Cruise Terminal," said Simon Palethorpe, Carnival UK President. "A number of our P&O Cruises and Cunard ships are already shore-power enabled, and we have plans to install this capability across our fleet."