Weser SSP expansion targets key maritime markets

Neighbouring box and vehicle handling sectors in Bremerhaven.Neighbouring box and vehicle handling sectors in Bremerhaven.

Key container and RoRo carriers are high on the list of ships targeted by a €32.4 million expanded shore-to-ship power (SSP) network in the German port complex of Bremen/Bremerhaven, writes Tom Todd.

The focus of SSP activity so far in Germany’s second biggest port after Hamburg has been on in-port and service vessel operation and on inland shipping.  Nearly all the berths in those sectors already have shore-to-ship power.

Now however, for the first time, the state of Bremen senate, which is responsible for the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven, is expanding the SSP network to cover ocean-going ships and the region’s most lucrative maritime market sectors. That, while pursuing an already vigorous ‘green port’ agenda.

By the end of 2023 eight additional permanent SSP facilities are being created at locations in Bremerhaven deemed “particularly suitable” after a study of technical feasibility and cost.

Bremerhaven on the North Sea is the hub of the region’s container handling and RoRo automobile transhipment business. Last year nearly six out of every ten ships serving the Weser were container ships and a further three were RoRo carriers. Bremerhaven handles the bulk of them and also most of the 4.9 million teus and some 2.2 million vehicles recorded in 2019.

Two of the eight new SSP points are being built in the area housing Bremerhaven’s extensive North Sea container terminals while a third will be close to its giant RoRo vehicle handling facilities in the Überseehafen. The state senate said a fourth facility is planned to serve growing the cruise shipping sector and will be close to Bremerhaven’s Cruise Shipping Terminal.

A further three SSP points are planned in Bremerhaven’s Fischereihafen for official port and work boat service vessels and one for research ships.

Bringing the total new facilities to ten are two further SSP points for inland ships in the busy Industriehafen in sister port Bremen some 60 kms inland on the Weser.

The Senate said the expansion would cost €32.4 million, half from the state of Bremen and half from the German Government.

As well as targeting key maritime business sectors the state Senate sees the SSP expansion as a “milestone” in ongoing efforts to make Bremen and Bremerhaven “a green, climate-free port complex”. All the new facilities will feed power entirely from renewable sources and Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports, described the new programme as a “groundbreaking decision”.  

The Senate also appealed to shipowners to design and operate more eco-friendly fleets. It also said as many ships as possible should be retrofitted for SSP as soon as possible while new ships should be built with the equipment to use it.

Appealing for “a concerted effort” Claudia Schilling said: The more ports provide shore power, the more cost effective it will be for the shipping companies to adapt their vessels”.

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