Green Port of Los Angeles Cruising Toward a Greener Harbor

Photo courtesy of Mike Chen, Flickr 

The World Cruise Center at the Port of Los Angeles, the premier pleasure cruise gateway for Los Angeles and all of Southern California, is making great strides to go green. Admittedly, martinis with olive garnishes are probably the only green things on the minds of the millions of passengers sailing to and from this bustling harbor, but port officials work behind the scenes to create a cleaner, more environmentally friendly cruise terminal.

It’s an Open Smile on a Friendly Shore

Recognized as the busiest cruise terminal on the West Coast, the World Cruise Center at the Port of Los Angeles welcomes some 1.2 million passengers a year. Home to The Love Boat television series, which aired for nearly a decade, the World Cruise Center hosts more than 15 cruise lines annually and serves as the homeport to Princess, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and, beginning in 2011, Disney Cruise Line.

The spectrum of onboard amenities, exotic itineraries, five-star dining and luxurious accommodations are all ways to help you relax, but the port’s green initiative can also help you breathe easier. The Port of Los Angeles recently signed environmental agreements with Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises to adhere to several port-related, environmentally friendly initiatives, including the use of Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) for cruise ships.

The World Cruise Terminal’s roof now plays home to over 70,000 square feet of solar paneling creating one megawatt of energy. In the coming years, three additional phases of solar development will push the total energy produced to 10 mega watts, with an eventual 1.3 gigawatts shining in a very bright future for both the port and the surrounding areas, who will also benefit from the additional green energy.


Bon Voyage to Bad Air Quality

The Port’s Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) program, which earned a Clean Air of Excellence Award, is the world’s first air quality program to focus on reducing emissions from ships while docked in port.

Leading the way is Norwegian Cruise Lines, one of the first to sign an agreement to comply with several specific air quality measures, such as using only low-sulfur fuel and participating in the Port’s Vessel Speed Reduction Program, an initiative to help limit air emissions. The award-winning cruise line has also agreed to turn off its diesel-burning engines while docked and plug into cleaner, shoreside electrical power, reducing air emissions while in port. This practice, more widely known as "cold ironing," means the cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, will utilize AMP on its vessels, which helps reduce nitrogen oxides and take more than half a ton of sulfur oxides out of the air.

Passengers will also benefit from other eco-friendly measures that are currently underway at the Port of Los Angeles, including a new generation of clean or retrofitted vehicles that will replace “dirty” diesel trucks entering the port. In addition, a technology advancement program is in development to help reduce greenhouse gases with recommendations to eliminate emissions of ultra-fine particles.

It’s not just the World Cruise Terminal, but the whole Port has made a commitment to become more environmentally friendly. The 2009 Inventory of Air Emissions associated with cargo handling operations at the Port of Los Angeles shows diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions dropped by 37 percent from 2008, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions fell 28 percent, and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions down by 36 percent. These substantial reductions have a huge impact on the World Cruise Terminal as well as all the surrounding areas. In 2010, the Clean Air Action Plan was updated to further reduce carbon based emissions at the port. The huge success of recent years allowed the port to up their expectations for years to come. By 2023, officials hope to reduce diesel particulate matter by 77 percent, nitrogen oxide levels by 59 percent and sulfur oxides by 93 percent, compared with levels measured in 2005.

After completion of a $15 million renovation and expansion project a few years ago, the World Cruise Terminal was awarded the “Most Improved Terminal Facilities” by Dream World Cruise Destinations Magazine. Could recognition for the most environmentally friendly cruise terminal be far behind? Fill that martini shaker one more time and break out the olives (green, of course). A toast to the Port of Los Angeles and World Cruise Terminal for continuing to explore the many uses of green technology.