Ports of Stockholm

Connecting vessels to shore side electricity in Sweden - Measures to strengthen driving forces among ship owners and ports

The use of renewable energy in the sea transport sector can be increased by the use of shore side electricity by vessels in ports, also known as cold ironing*. The environmental impact from the vessels at berth can be reduced in the local port area but also at a global level. Using shore side electricity in ports is a relevant current issue in the transition to fossil-free shipping. Yet, the degree of electrification in Swedish ports is increasing slowly and at present few Swedish vessels make use of this solution. This research project takes its starting point in the industry needs and aims to strengthen the driving forces to realize new business concepts.

The purpose of this project is to understand shore side electricity and investigate the driving forces at shipping companies and ports to use shore side electricity in Sweden to a larger extent, by identifying actions that include decision making and conditions to realize new business concepts. 

The project involves key actors, researchers and experts in shipping, transport, business and economics. The project group includes SSPA and the University of Gothenburg, and the industry associations Swedish Shipowners' Association and Ports of Sweden. In addition, industry and authorities are involved in a reference group with representatives from shipping companies, ports, energy companies and the Swedish Transport Administration.

  • 4 partners from Sweden
  • Financed by the Swedish Transport Administration
  • Project period: Starting January 2020 and running to October 2021

SSPA is contributing with expertise that builds upon international research on shore side electricity and to assemble the results that can have a large potential for immediate use in the industry. The work includes, for example, a large number of interviews, workshops, comparative and external analyses, as well as development of decision support and principles for business concepts.

*Cold ironing is a shipping industry term that first came into use when all ships had coal-fired engines. When a ship tied up at port there was no need to continue to feed the fire and the iron engines would literally cool down, eventually going completely cold, hence the term cold ironing.


Connecting vessels to shore side electricity requires investments from both ports and ship owners. Photo: Ports of Stockholm.