First UK Shore Power Coming to Southampton by 2022

Southampton to become UK's first commercial portwith shore power
(file photo)

Published May 17, 2021 7:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Southampton is poised to become the first commercial port in the U.K. to provide shore power. By 2022, the port plans to have cold ironing technology available at two of the city’s five cruise ship terminals. While the effort was delayed by technical and economic challenges, it follows a growing trend across Europe and in line with future regulations that would require all large ships to use shore power to meet emissions goals.

In 2020, Southampton announced that its new cruise terminal under development with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MSC Cruises would be equipped to provide shore power. The new terminal, which is expected to receive its first cruise ship later this year, will be one of the most environmentally advanced facilities in the industry. It will also have roof-mounted solar power panels. 

The Association of British Ports recently announced plans to increase its shore power installations to also include the current Mayflower cruise terminal used by P&O Cruises and other ships of Carnival Corporation. According to the two organizations, shore power is the next step in an ongoing partnership to enable sustainable cruising from the Port of Southampton. 

Previously ABP completed a £12 million (approximate $17 million) investment at the port’s Ocean Terminal to accommodate the LNG-powered P&O Cruises’ Iona. The Iona made her maiden arrival in Southampton on May 16 for her christening ceremonies conducted at the port. The Iona was delivered to P&O late last year from her builder Meyer Werft, but because of the pausing in cruising remained in Europe until now. She is expected to begin cruising as part of Britain’s domestic cruise restart this summer.

“We are incredibly proud to be making another significant step as we further develop our sustainable credentials for 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 for the future of cruise.”

The BBC noted, however, that the shore power initiative had been delayed, and the port had not always supported the plans. A 2019 report questioned the environmental benefits of shore power but by late 2019 the port said it was moving forward with its first installation as soon as issues were resolved for the required infrastructure and investment. Port director Alastair Welch said to the BBC at the time, "What we don't want to do is to plug a ship in and brown out the city." ABP had pledged to have shore power in place by 2020.

The current investment to bring shore power to the two terminals at Southampton has received support from HM Government's Local Growth Deal that provides funds to Local Enterprise Partnerships for projects that benefit the local area and economy. Through this the Solent LEP has part-funded the project that means that an alternative fuel can potentially be offered or supported at each of the dedicated cruise terminals in the port.

“We are delighted to see the advance in shore power technology and the fitting of this into 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."