Electrical power is essential in the shift to a more modern, efficient and sustainable shipping industry. Dry and liquid bulk operations have been running on electrified equipment for decades, and the same applies to the naval defense sector with regards to providing vessels with shore power. More recently, port electrification has increasingly involved container terminals; this process entails converting all existing operations that rely on fossil fuels to an electric-powered operation—in other words, shifting from the traditional pool of diesel-powered container handling equipment, commonly used for moving and storing the containers in the port, to modern electric equipment.
Ports can take this concept to the next level, to provide shore power to vessels at a much larger scale than previously done, such as to container vessels that may contain thousands of refrigerated containers or cruise vessels that have an electrical consumption on the same scale as a small city. In this scenario, vessels connect to an electrical power source on the landside, enabling them to turn off their diesel-powered engines while berthed at the port.
This article focuses on factors for scaling up electrical power at container terminals and explores how naval defense infrastructure experience can inform the process.