Shore Power Coming to PortMiami

Newly-elected Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava has made clear she cares deeply about the well-being of her county and perhaps it’s most important industry; cruising. Today, her office announced another initiative which will help out both immensely. 

The Mayor and Miami-Dade County signed a joint statement with six leading cruise companies – Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Virgin Voyages – and Florida Power and Light to bring shore power to PortMiami.

What is Shore Power and Why is it Important? 

When cruise ships line up at PortMiami, sometimes as many as nine per day, there is no way for them to connect to the local power grid to provide electricity on board. Thus they have to run their diesel engines while idling in port waiting for cruisers to get on and off. Shore power, also called “cold ironing”, allows ships to shut off their engines and run all necessary mechanical equipment as well as hotel and restaurant operations with electricity drawn from the local power grid. 

As the largest cruise port in the world, the move to provide shore power was a no-brainer for PortMiami as it will help reduce air and noise pollution at the port. The issue has been a hot topic over the years, but roadblocks like cost and a lack of community awareness got in the way. 

According to the statement released by Miami-Dade County, the process will be a gradual one in the coming years. 

The Mayor’s office will convene a working group with representatives of each company to work toward an initial installation and eventually a full rollout in the years to come. Entrepreneur and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is helping lead this initiative as a volunteer special advisor focused on the future of cruising, working with the Mayor’s office, the Port, and cruise companies to shape a more resilient cruise industry.

“This is a major win for our Port, the environment, the entire region, and the state of Florida, and I’m incredibly proud to deliver on my commitment to bring shore power to our community with this initiative. The goal is to make PortMiami the first seaport in the State of Florida and the southeastern United States to provide shore power hookup – not just the cruise capital of the world but a leader in sustainability,” said Mayor Levine Cava.

Experts estimate renovations for shore power hookups cost around $20 million each, but considering the billions cruise lines have spent to build brand new terminals at PortMiami, that number seems very reasonable for a clean air around Miami. 

Along with new terminals, the switch to ships powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) is already in the works. Carnival Cruise Line recently broke ground on a terminal at PortMiami to house their upcoming Carnival Celebration, which will be the first at the port eschewing diesel for cleaner LNG technology. Adjusting plans for the terminal to include shore power hookups should be an easy update as construction is still in its early stages.