TECHNOLOGY

Kenya explore plans to connect Ships at Mombasa, Lamu ports to power line

The study will advice for possible investment in cold ironing at Kenyan ports , the powering of ships from shore

In Summary

They have collected information on port ship traffic, ship energy requirements and energy consumption in the port

Should Cold Ironing be economically acceptable, a suggestion of possible infrastructure development and financing will be availed

The 300-meter long MSC MAXINE which made its maiden voyage to the port of Mombasa loaded with over 4500 TEUS on Thursday, October 25, 2018. /COURTESY
The 300-meter long MSC MAXINE which made its maiden voyage to the port of Mombasa loaded with over 4500 TEUS on Thursday, October 25, 2018. /COURTESY

A team of Maritime technology experts has concluded a two weeks feasibility study to determine whether the ports of Mombasa and Lamu can support ‘cold ironing’ for ships that dock at the two ports.

The study led by Captain Arne Loland from Norway which will indicate whether ships calling into the two ports, can connect to shore power instead of using their inbuilt auxiliary power source when docked.

Cold ironing or shore connection, shore-to-ship power (SSP) or alternative maritime power (AMP) is the process of providing shore-side electrical power to a ship at berth while its main auxiliary engines are turned off.

It permits emergency equipment, refrigeration, cooling, heating, lighting and other equipment to receive continuous electrical power while the shiploads or unloads her cargo.

According to Maritime and Shipping PS Nancy Karigithu, the team that is sponsored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has collected information on port ship traffic and ship energy requirements, together with energy consumption in the ports, for comparing with available energy supply and network limits.

“Cold ironing is basically ships’ connection to shore power on arrival in ports and switching their main and auxiliary machinery off. This means ships would be very quiet without sound and vibrations,” Karigithu said.

This, she says, would allow overhaul of certain machinery in port which would not have been possible if they were to run their machinery.

“This situation is also good for the crew health as they would have proper rest at ports.  It is also cheaper to use shore power as this will reduce tear and wear in ships’ machinery, of course depending on local tariff price of electricity,” added Karigithu.

She said the experts will estimate and determine whether there is enough shore power available that ships can rely on.

According to IMO, ships contribute about two to three per cent (2-3 per cent) of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the world.  

While most of that emission occurs in the deep seas where ships move at full speed, some occur in the ports where the ships call. IMO intends to cut this by half by year 2030.

 “The international maritime community would like to be proactive as they are the ones with knowledge of what is possible and what is not possible with the latest maritime technology on GHG reduction. They would prefer self–regulation rather than regulation be imposed from outside the industry,” Karigithu said.

The feasibility study team included representatives from the transport ministry, Kenya power, Kenya Ports Authority(KPA), Kenya Maritime Authority(KMA), energy ministry, Ketraco, Lapsset and MTTC Africa.

The team collected data from Mombasa and Lamu ports regarding the power infrastructure, including the substations in the ports, the equipment and the statistics of ships calling.

Should Cold Ironing be economically acceptable, a suggestion of possible infrastructure in the ports for supply of energy to the vessels at the various terminals and berths will be presented, together with a rough budget and possible financing plan.