Cold Ironing Solutions

  • Client:
    Matson Navigation Co
  • Completion Date:
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification, Cargo Vessels
    Marine Infrastructure
  • Service Categories:
    Marine Engineering
    Marine Electrical & Controls Engineering
  • Challenge:
    Develop cold ironing solutions for eight Matson vessels


Ocean-going vessels are often viewed as major contributors to air pollution—a particular concern for port communities where vessel engines generate emissions at berth. Matson tasked Glosten with developing cold ironing solutions for eight of their vessels at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Oakland in California.

Cold ironing, also known as alternative marine power (AMP), involves completely shutting down vessel engines and generators in port and connecting to shore-based electrical power to run lights, ventilation, communications, pumps, and other vessel systems. The concept of using dockside electrical infrastructure to power large containerships while in port was brand new when the project began. There were no standards in place to guide the conversion process, adding an additional layer of complexity to the project.

Cold Iron Ceremony 006


Our early involvement with regulators and classification societies was essential to ensuring equipment and installation practice approval and allowed ongoing improvements to be made throughout the project. Glosten engineers performed groundbreaking work, collaborating with ship crews to determine power requirements and develop an installation approach that would minimize impacts to vessel operations. Cooperative design efforts with the ports ensured compatibility between the ship and shore instrumentation, monitoring, and alarms. Matson now “plugs in” at the ports in Long Beach and Oakland and has cut air pollution from their ships at berth by 100 percent.

The cold ironing project was a really fun project as we got to be involved all the way from the concept through the actual connection of the vessels to the shore power. The project started with the conversion of the vessels to connect in Long Beach, continued with additional modifications for connection in Oakland, and finished with our consultation on the AMP system for connection on Matson’s new built vessels.


– Elizabeth White, Glosten Project Manager