All cruise ships in Port NYC New York to connect to shore power by 2028

   October 8, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

In order to reduce COx and NOx emissions, all cruise vessels arriving in NYC New York have committed to connecting to shore power by the year 2028.

To address residents' concerns residing in Hell's Kitchen and Red Hook, the neighborhoods most affected by the growing influx of passenger ships in New York City, each passenger will bear a $1 levy. This levy has the potential to generate up to US$14 million, which will be directed toward a community fund.

These developments have transpired as the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), responsible for managing Piers 79, 88, 90, 92, and 94 within Hudson River Park, has unveiled plans to enhance Pier 90, potentially attracting even more ships. The EDC disclosed that their operator, Ports America, is actively exploring an apron extension to accommodate additional vessels and unlock the pier's full potential. The extension project is currently in its early planning and permitting phases, including public consultations, with construction anticipated between 2024 and 2025.

The EDC has set a deadline of 2028 to reduce emissions and ensure that all ships will have the capability to connect to shore power. However, this poses a significant challenge. Presently, despite being the city's busiest cruise ship terminal and the fourth busiest in the USA, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal (MCT) lacks access to shore power. While Brooklyn possesses such capability, it is only utilized for ships half of the time. According to the West Side Cruise Terminal's schedule, there are 227 booked ships in Hell's Kitchen this year. In Red Hook, there are 43 reserved ship berthings, with only 21 of the vessels to connect to shore power.

As part of these initiatives, the EDC will establish a community priority fund, allocating $1 per passenger to a fund managed by the agency. This fund will be employed to address community priorities in the neighborhoods surrounding the cruise terminals, with an estimated $14 million anticipated to be raised over the next decade. Currently, the EDC allocates 20% of the cruise terminal rent to the Hudson River Park Trust. The specifics of how the new community priority fund will be distributed and to whom remain unclear.

In this arrangement, the EDC has also committed to collaborating with major operators, including Carnival, NCLH-Norwegian, and MSC, to monitor and enhance ground transportation while striving to reduce emissions where feasible from both commercial and operational perspectives. Each cruise line is required to submit an annual report to the EDC, outlining their progress. These new agreements vary in duration, ranging from three to 15 years, with the option for five-year renewals.

This announcement coincides with the introduction of new legislation, championed by Councilmembers Alexa Aviles and Erik Bottcher, which seeks to mandate cruise ships to switch off their engines while in port. The bill mandates that all cruise ships in port across the city, including those at Manhattan's Cruise Terminal, connect to the city's electric grid instead of relying on fossil fuels.

The EDC, in their press release, emphasized that the cruise industry contributes significantly to New York City's economy, generating $420 million annually and supporting 2,667 jobs, primarily within tourism-related sectors. The agency anticipates a record 1.3 million passengers at Manhattan and Brooklyn terminals this year, signifying a robust resurgence in cruise tourism.