ZDS: Ane Maersk’s arrival exposes urgency for infrastructure investment in German ports


The arrival of Ane Maersk underscores the pressing need for investment in infrastructure across German ports to accommodate the evolving demands of sustainable shipping.

© Maersk

Ane Mærsk, the world’s first large methanol-fuelled container ship, operated by A.P. Moller – Maersk, arrived on Thursday, March 28 at EUROGATE Container Terminal Hamburg (CTH).

Measuring 350 meters in length and 53.5 meters in width, the vessel boasts a capacity of up to 16,000 TEU. This marks the first of a series of 18 methanol-capable ships, ranging in capacity between 16,000 and 17,000 standard containers (TEU), set to be delivered to Maersk in 2024 and 2025.

The ship is the first containership to arrive at the Port of Hamburg that runs on methanol. These ships heavily rely on the ports having the necessary infrastructure and sufficient quantities of fuel, and have to plan their rotations to include ports that offer methanol bunkering.

Angela Titzrath, President of the Central Association of German Seaport Companies (ZDS), has emphasized the importance of port infrastructure readiness in supporting the transition to greener energy sources. While the national port strategy outlines the need for investments in storage and bunkering capacities for alternative fuels, Titzrath has raised concerns about the lack of funding allocated for port infrastructure upgrades.

“Without sufficient investment in German ports, there will be no propulsion change in shipping and no energy transition in Germany,” explains Titzrath. “Ane Maersk shows that we have to implement the national port strategy quickly.”

As explained, the National Port Strategy, which the federal government adopted last week, rightly describes the ports as “pioneers for climate-neutral shipping”.

Read more: New German port strategy heavily criticised for the “money later” angle

Hence, infrastructure operators are called upon to create storage and bunkering capacities for alternative fuels at an early stage. The federal and state governments should ensure uniform nationwide framework conditions for dealing with new types of fuel, she noted.

“The national port strategy envisages market leadership for German ports in technologies for transport, handling, storage, and bunkering of sustainable energy sources and renewable fuels,” said ZDS President.

“At the same time, we have to equip the ports throughout Germany for the energy transition, ensure security of supply in the country and handle large parts of German foreign trade. All of this as efficiently and digitally as possible. These comprehensive tasks require a joint effort, which requires more federal support.”

To date, however, there has been no formulation of federal and state funding initiatives aimed at upgrading port infrastructure to accommodate the energy transition and vessels like the Ane Maersk in German seaports. This lack of financial support has resulted in a backlog of investments, posing a significant challenge not only to achieving climate-neutral shipping but also to the overall energy transition in Germany, the association said.

On one hand, the importation of energy sources such as LNG, methanol, or hydrogen, as well as the shipment of components for offshore wind farms, relies heavily on the adaptability of port facilities and hinterland connections, streamlined regulations, and optimized approval procedures. The absence of adequate funding hampers these efforts, jeopardizing Germany’s ability to meet its energy transition goals.

During the 2022/2023 energy crisis, LNG terminals were swiftly approved, and corresponding infrastructure developments in ports and hinterland areas were executed at an unprecedented pace. Titzrath emphasized that achieving success in Germany’s energy transition and the shift to climate-friendly shipping hinges on similar levels of political determination and the allocation of sufficient financial resources to drive necessary expansion and conversion projects.

You just read one of our articles for free

To continue reading, subscribe to WorldCargo News

By subscribing you will have:

  • Access to all regular and exclusive content
  • Discount on selected events
  • Full access to the entire digital archive
  • 10x per year Digital Magazine

SUBSCRIBE or, if you are already a member Log In


Having problems logging in? Call +31(0)10 280 1000 or send an email to customerdesk@worldcargonews.com.