Power On Shore In San Diego Port Improves Cold Chain

Last week officials dedicated a new $4.25 million shore power system at the Unified Port of San Diego's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal could cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, and reduce nitrogen oxides emissions by 95 percent as cargo ships can now plug in instead of running diesel engines.

The project was started in mid-2013 and fulfills the port’s effort to meet mandates from the California Air Resources Board, officials said during a Feb. 24 dedication.

Refrigerated cargo ships carrying fresh produce are one example of vessels that use the new system, port officials said in a news release, specifically citing Dole Food Co. Inc. as one of the port’s customers that will use the electric power. Dole signed a 24 1/2-year lease with the port in 2012, with shore power improvements being one of the conditions Dole required before signing.

The ships will be able to maintain the cold chain for perishable produce without running diesel engines when in port.

San Diego’s port is the first stop for Dole’s fresh fruit moving into the U.S. from South America. The company sends about 95,000 20-foot containers of Dole fruit to the port annually.

“By offering shore power we not only improve air quality for communities nearby, but we also reduce our impact on the planet,” Bob Nelson, chairman of the port’s board of commissioners, said in a news release.

Specifically, the shore power system is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions at the port by more than 50 percent, or more than 2,200 tons, which is the equivalent to emissions from 1,500 cars. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are expected to drop by 95 percent, which would be equivalent to the annual emissions from 4,000 cars, according to the port news release.

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