Port of Tacoma welcomes first electric plug-in cargo ship

State and federal officials joined Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc., officials Wednesday to flip the switch...

State and federal officials joined Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc., officials Wednesday to flip the switch on the Pacific Northwest’s first cargo ship shore power. Sparked by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. The $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE’s 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, contributed about $1.2 million to retrofit the two ships to accommodate shore power connections and add some of the terminal infrastructure. The Port of Tacoma provided environmental permitting, grant administration and project management. The EPA grant was provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. In addition to retrofitting two TOTE ships with certified ship-side technology, this project installed a shore-side connection system and power at the Port’s TOTE terminal.

Officials on hand to plug in the first ship included Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Chief of Staff Jay Manning and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran.

This project supports the groundbreaking Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, adopted in early 2008 by the Port and its regional partners, the ports of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., to meet jointly established short- and long-term clean air goals for ships, cargo-handling equipment, rail, trucks and harbor craft. About half the ships that call frequently at the Port already meet the 2010 clean-air goal for ships by using cleaner-burning distillate fuel at berth. TOTE ships, which call twice a week in Tacoma, will boost that number to 64 percent by plugging into the shore power system.

Known as Orca-class vessels, the ships feature state-of-the-art redundant propulsion and steering systems that exceed state and federal environmental regulations, earning TOTE numerous awards in recognition of outstanding environmental achievement.

State and federal officials joined Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc., officials Wednesday to flip the switch on the Pacific Northwest's first cargo ship shore power. Sparked by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. The $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE's 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. (PHOTOS COURTESY PORT OF TACOMA)
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