We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

Hamburg Port
  • Print

In the light of urgent change towards sustainable solutions in the maritime sector, port authorities are re-thinking the way of running their business in favour of more environmentally friendly processes. Together with shipping companies they are joining a global effort to meet the adopted IMO strategy to reduce marine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% until 2030.

Rapidly reaching the emission peak with subsequent reduction is required more than ever and actual and, even more, future port activities need to support the IMO in its strategy. 

Despite the positive effects on the environment and for the climate, sustainable port operations are a major factor to attract customers looking for environmentally friendly solutions. But in many cases expertise is missing as to which measures shall be chosen and combined to reduce GHG emissions. This goes along with a lack of experience in financial expenditures and their economic outcome. Therefore, this article highlights some of the possibilities and HPC’s approach to realize them.

The potential of sustainable solutions

There is an existing potential for ports to implement sustainable solutions which can be applied to the operational areas of vessel operations alongside, loading and discharging. 

Sustainable energy supply to vessels alongside is one of the core services ports and governments must address to reduce the emission impact on the local communities and the environment. Vessels do share a huge part of local emissions, followed by port shore-based operations.

Shore power is usually already available but not yet a commonly used option. Currently it is lacking a joint approach to standardize the connection design and in some cases, the pricing policy for each kWh is deterring shipping companies from utilizing this valuable technology. It needs political enforcement to increase the amount of installations and their use, because renewable sources can already supply vessels with green energy. Green hydrogen as a source is still expensive in its production, but one of the most promising options on the future market and may have the potential to replace fossil fuels along with other biofuels like green ammonia.

Battery pack installations on board ships are more valuable in terms of emission reduction, especially in ports which are such an integral part of a city’s DNA. Of course, batteries are only as sustainable and morally acceptable as their way of production and recycling currently is.

This topic further requires an update in the regulatory framework regarding second life and recycling procedures to ensure a sustainable life cycle. The latest EU battery directive dates back to 2006 and its revision is expected for the 4th quarter in 2020.

During its operational phase lithium-ion batteries cause zero emission if recharged with green energy. Their use can be widely applied and is one of the most promising solutions. Once installed in an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), they reduce energy demand up to 30% compared to conventionally driven carriers. Expenditures to upgrade the fleet vary and can be up to 20% higher compared to fuel-driven carriers because the necessary infrastructure needs to be purchased as well. But experience has shown that amortization can be reached within five to six years and operating costs remain below those of AGVs consuming fossil fuel. Another great advantage of operating battery-driven AGVs is the fact that battery charging can be timed to the hours of lowest possible prices on the spot market, which reduces energy procurement costs significantly.

Moveable equipment offers a wide range of energy-saving options, which is not limited to electrification only. Eco-driving of straddle carriers or trucks has proven to cut energy consumption by 5-10% without affecting the overall terminal’s performance. This measure reduces waiting time in front of the Ship to Shore gantry cranes (STS cranes) and even if the productivity of carriers or trucks is reduced, it does not automatically affect crane performance. Training employees is a simple and cost-effective step with a measurable outcome.

In the best case, these assets operate on a LED-lit terminal. Beside the extended lifetime and therefore reduced material and maintenance requirements, LEDs offer energy savings of up to 20%.

Nevertheless, before implementing such measures, an analysis should be carried out to figure out if the favoured options will prove effective. This can be done by running simulations, as part of HPC’s portfolio, considering the terminal’s layout, its operational processes and cargo flow, weather conditions and further energy consumers and providers installed on the terminal.

Green Port Transformation

An important task for ports is to detect energy-efficiency measures and foster their implementation in the respective field of application. As several of these options and their ecologic and economic advantages are unknown to many operators, HPC supports harbours in their responsibility to reduce GHG emissions. HPC’s competence bases on the vast experience in accomplished energy-reduction measures and their simulation. As an example, for Hamburg’s Container Terminal Tollerort, simulated energy savings for options like van carrier (VC) pooling reach 1.8% with an increase in STS-productivity of about 2.9% or nearly 44% in energy savings for the complete electrification of VCs.

HPC’s approach, named “Sustainability Roadmap”, is a solution applicable to each and every port. For instance, it led to the re-certification of the Container Terminal Altenwerder as climate-neutral operator, helping to meet the IMO Emission Target for 2030, and become the world’s first carbon-neutral container terminal.

It begins with a terminal inspection and a pre-evaluation to determine, which energy-optimising solutions can be applied. A sustainability catalogue, offering more than 200 options to reduce energy consumption, and HPC’s knowledge to combine the correct ones makes sure that the initial phase serves as a reliable fundament.

These first steps are followed by an in-depth analysis. A simulation running the chosen measures clearly displays their feasibility, and a subsequent lifecycle and business assessment calculates the ecologic and economic advantages expected.

Once the measures are agreed upon, HPC draws a roadmap and supports their client during the implementation phase to ensure that the commissioning of the new green port develops into success. If financial possibilities are limited, which applies even more in these restrictive times, HPC also offers its experience to include public funding options into the project.

Do you have a plan for your port to tackle global warming? Reach out - HPC with its experts is well prepared to assist you in choosing the right way.

About the author

With a background as Nautical Officer, Marcus Eichstädt served on multi-purpose ships for several years, gaining experience with cargo operations and customers worldwide. The ecologically advanced MV “E-Ship 1” is among the vessels he sailed, which made him strive into a direction with a stronger environmental background. 

As Environmental Officer he held a Senior Officer position on board cruise ships and ensured constant compliance with international environmental laws and the company internal ISM-System. His passion for environmental protection has been perceptible in the training sessions he provided among the entire crew. You may contact Marcus at .


send inquiry

+49 40 74008-0