HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) achieved a milestone in its pursuit of reducing emissions by becoming the first cruise company to connect to shoreside electricity in Iceland. Expedition vessel MS Maud linked to Iceland’s power grid at Faxagardur terminal in Reykjavík, the result of close collaboration between HX and Faxaflóahafnir sf (Associated Icelandic Ports).
By plugging into shore power, the custom-built, small ship eliminates engine use, cutting emissions to zero. This connectivity curbs both fuel usage and air pollution by substituting renewable electricity from Iceland, where 85% of the primary energy supply is derived from domestically produced renewable sources, according to the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate.
Since 2021, all but one vessel in Hurtigruten Group’s combined HX and Hurtigruten (formerly Hurtigruten Norway) fleet have been equipped with shore power connectivity. “We are proud to continue leading in this critical area,” stated Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten Group. “Shoreside electricity plays a pivotal role in helping us achieve our emission targets and we hope others will soon follow,” emphasized Skjeldam.
While Hurtigruten Group has established multiple shore power connections across Norway, this marks the Group’s first international plug-in. “There’s no question that port pollution impacts both the global climate crisis and wellbeing of the local community,” explained Skjeldam. HX is actively working with global ports to establish connectivity in its other operational destinations.
“We celebrate this achievement alongside our partners at Associated Icelandic Ports and advocate for similar cross-industry collaborations,” explained Skjeldam, noting the scarcity—less than 2%—of global ports equipped with such facilities, as reported by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). “Cooperation among local governments, ports, cruise companies, shipbuilders, and the tech industry is essential to advance the availability, and attractiveness, of shore power.”
“Improved air quality is one of the most important challenges that cities all over the world are currently addressing. It does not matter whether air pollution is caused by traffic or emissions from marine diesel generators, we must actively seek new and innovative solutions to reduce it and its impact on our environment,” said Dagur B. Eggertsson, Mayor of Reykjavík.
“The establishment of shore connections in Reykjavik marks a significant milestone, and I want to extend my congratulations to the team at Associated Icelandic Ports and Veitur Utilities for this achievement. The City of Reykjavík has grown and developed around the Old Harbour, and it is extremely important for us in the fight against global warming to now being finally able to provide shore connection,” added Eggertsson.
HX is committed to supporting Iceland’s communities, wildlife, and nature. This summer, the company hosted a stakeholder cruise with The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), uniting over 50 locals – operators, organizations, and government representatives – to build sustainable travel programming in partnership with the community. Furthermore, the Hurtigruten Foundation is providing funds for marine macro-litter mitigation by the Skálanes Nature and Heritage Centre. And, in addition to supporting beach clean-ups, including AECO’s inaugural ‘Clean Up Iceland’ event, the cruise’s Citizen Science program contributes to puffin conservation at the South Iceland Nature Research Centre.
In 2024, HX will offer six small-ship expeditions in Iceland; all sailings onboard Maud will use shoreside electricity. The company anticipates that neighbouring Midbakki terminal (also in Reykjavik) will provide shoreside electricity next season, enabling HX to connect its newest ship, the hybrid battery-powered MS Fridtjof Nansen, to shore power as well.