Ports of Auckland is investigating using a giant power socket so visiting cruise liners can plug in and get their electricity from onshore.
At present, ships run generators off their fuel oil while in port.
Port spokesman Matt Ball said that produced greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution.
"What we're exploring is plugging in cruise ships so they can use electricity from the grid instead of having to use their generators.
"We'd like to reduce the emissions associated with the port. So, if the ships could be plugged in, in a perfect world they'd turn their engines off and there'd be no emissions locally."
But he said liners and large container shops used a lot of electricity and so powering them from the mains would need a lot of investment.
Mr Ball said a feasibility study had been commissioned and was due to be completed by April.
Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said: "We have set ourselves the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and having zero emissions by 2040.
"This work will support both those goals. Initially we will look at the feasibility of providing alternative power just for cruise ships, but we aim to extend that across the whole port longer term."
A second option, after plug-ins, would be using a shore-based generator burning gas or low sulphur fuel, which would still be cleaner than combustion of a ship's fuel oil.