Miami Cruise Lines Look to Cut Emissions From Ships

Tomas Curcio, Staff Writer

On Apr. 29, PortMiami Director Hydi Webb announced the construction of five shore power hookups to minimize the ecological footprint of PortMiami. 

This exploration of environmental consciousness in PortMiami began over a decade ago when Miami-Dade County planned to implement shore power hookups in the port, failing to follow through. PortMiami the largest passenger port in the world gets heavy traffic from both feet and boats, making it a prime place to address the issue.

The plan remained in stagnant development until last year when newly-instated Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava announced that by fall 2023, one shore power hookup would materialize in PortMiami, something that Webb now plans to expand upon.

Shore power hookups serve as charging stations for cruise ships, eliminating the need for cruise ships to run on heavy fuel oil, which creates toxic fumes and emits greenhouse gasses. This creation of greenhouse gasses and the expelling of liquids then lead to water and air pollution. But, for a cruise ship to run off of these shore power hookups it needs compatible technology, something that cruises have yet to largely adopt.

However, Cruise Lines International Association, a trade association that largely represents all cruise ship lines, recently announced plans to have all cruise ships shore-power enabled by 2023, a big step forward for the industry.

As of right now, five terminals have partnered with PortMiami for this project: MSC, Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. Of these terminals, MSC has seven compatible ships, Norwegian has nine, Virgin has one with three on the way, Carnival has three on the way and Royal Caribbean has eight.

Estimated costs to install the shore power hookups reach up to $10 million, $8 million of which stems from Miami-Dade County and the other $2 million from a grant awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The EPA has calculated that PortMiami produces about the same carbon emissions as the entire city of Pinecrest does. With the inclusion of these new shore power hookups, carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by 35%.

The current timeline underneath Webb has PortMiami on track to have the five shore power hookups active by winter 2023.