Alternative Maritime Power® (AMP®)

Alternative Maritime Power® (AMP®)


Alternative Maritime Power® (AMP®) is a unique air quality program that focuses on reducing emissions from container vessels docked at the Port of Los Angeles. Instead of running on diesel power while at berth, AMP®-equipped ships “plug in” to shore side electrical power – literally an alternative power source for oceangoing vessels.  AMP® is also referred to shore power, cold ironing, or High Voltage Shore Connection (HVSC) Systems. 

On June 21, 2004, the Port of Los Angeles and China Shipping Container Line announced the opening of the West Basin Container Terminal at Berth 100, the first container terminal in the world to use Alternative Maritime Power®. Nearly two months later on August 9, 2004, the Port welcomed the world’s first container vessel to be built with AMP® specifications already in mind, shipping line NYK’s NYK Atlas.

In July 2012, the international HVSC standard was published.  The Port was an active participant in the development of the IEC/ISO/IEEE 80005-1 international standard.  The Port’s shoreside installations meet the IEC/ISO/IEEE 80005-1 international standard.

AMP Regulations

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a regulation in December 2007 to reduce emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on ships while at-berth for container, cruise and reefer vessels. The regulation requires that auxiliary diesel engines are shut down (i.e., instead use grid-based power) for specified percentages of fleet visits. In addition the fleet’s at-berth auxiliary engine power generation (kW-hrs) must be reduced by the same percentages. As an alternative, vessel operators may employ any combination of technologies to achieve equivalent reductions.

In 2014, vessel operators relying on shore power were required to shut down their auxiliary engines at-berth for 50% of the fleet’s vessel visits and also reduce their onboard auxiliary engine power generation by 50%. The specified percentages increased to 70% in 2017 and 80% in 2020. For vessel operators choosing the emission reduction equivalency alternative, the regulation required a 10% reduction in OGV hotelling emissions in 2010 increasing in stringency to an 80% reduction by 2020.

The Port of Los Angeles has invested millions of dollars preparing terminals for shoreside power regulations. As of 2020, the Port of Los Angeles has 79 AMP vaults — more than any other port in the world.