Shore power plug-in hailed as milestone in Seattle

(SEATTLE) — The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Terminal 5 welcomed MSC Brunella on Monday as the first vessel to plug in to the terminal’s shore power infrastructure.

The commissioning phase of the terminal’s shore power project component was finalized as the nearly 9,000-TEU vessel successfully utilized clean energy from the city of Seattle’s electrical grid to power the vessel while at berth.

Terminal 5 is the first international container terminal in the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) gateway with shore power capability, making this inaugural plug-in a significant environmental milestone in the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Seaport Alliance photos

Shore power infrastructure reduces diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions by allowing vessels to turn off their diesel engines and “plug in” to the local power grid while being worked at the dock. Seattle City Light has been a critical collaborator throughout this project.

“The Northwest Seaport Alliance is committed to reducing maritime emissions in our harbors and the launch of shore power utilization at Terminal 5 is an important milestone for our gateway,” said NWSA Co-Chairman Sam Cho. “We appreciate our partners, SSA Terminals, Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), Pacific Crane Maintenance Co. (PCMC), and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 19 for working alongside the NWSA to ensure shore power is successful at Terminal 5.”

“Terminal 5 is an important asset to our region’s economy, adding critical capacity to the west coast that increases cargo movement through our gateway, and now, reduces the environmental impact of port operations on our workers and surrounding near-port neighborhoods,” stated NWSA Co-Chairwoman Deanna Keller. “We thank the Washington state Legislature for their $4.4 million investment in Terminal 5 shore power and look forward to expanding shore power infrastructure across our facilities including the upcoming installation of shore power at Husky Terminal in our South Harbor.”

Shore power installation is a key environmental initiative as part of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, which targets the installation of shore power infrastructure on all international container terminals by 2030. NWSA managing members, commissioners of the Port of Tacoma and Port of Seattle, committed to making significant investments in installing shore power, with Husky Terminal in the South Harbor and Terminal 18 in the North Harbor as the next projects to be completed.

In addition to needing landside infrastructure at marine terminals, a ship must have special equipment installed to accept shore power. The NWSA is glad to see the cargo shipping industry increasing the number of shore power capable vessels, with more than half of the vessels that call NWSA being shore-power capable. Once the infrastructure is fully installed throughout the gateway, the NWSA expects all capable ships will plug in.

The Terminal 5 modernization program broke ground in 2019 with operations at the north berth beginning in January 2022. Phase Two of the modernization is underway with operations in the south berth expected to start in 2024, further expanding job opportunities across the Puget Sound. At full completion, Terminal 5 will boast 185 acres of cargo capacity.

– Northwest Seaport Alliance

By Rich Miller