Port of Hamburg - pioneer for solar power


The Port of Hamburg is setting new standards in Europe by being the first port to offer a comprehensive shore power supply for both cruise ships and container ships. This initiative represents a significant step towards more environmentally friendly shipping and positions the Port of Hamburg as a pioneer in the use of renewable energies.

Investments and realisation

In recent years, considerable funds have been invested in the development and completion of the first shore power system at Eurogate Terminal. This system enables ships to draw clean electricity from the shore-based grid while they are berthed in the harbour instead of having to rely on their own environmentally harmful diesel engines. Further shore power systems are already being planned and are due to go into regular operation at the Burchardkai and Altenwerder terminals in the coming months.

The first ship docks

On Monday, 13 May 2024, a significant milestone was reached: the first container ship was successfully supplied with shore power and was able to switch off its own generators. This ship, a 400-metre-long giant from shipping company CMA CGM, can transport up to 18,000 containers.

Container ships also require a considerable amount of electricity in the harbour. Until now, they have mostly used their auxiliary diesel engines to cover their energy requirements while they are at berth. However, these diesel generators are extremely harmful to the environment. According to the German Shipowners' Association, a large container ship in harbour requires around 7.5 megawatts. This is almost equivalent to the drive power of a Deutsche Bahn ICE 3 high-speed train. Cruise ships have even higher energy requirements and need up to eleven megawatts.

Challenges and future prospects

Germany is planning to introduce mandatory shore power from 2030. This regulation will oblige shipping companies to supply their ships with shore power while they are in harbour. However, a major problem for shipowners is that shore power is currently more expensive than the electricity generated by their own generators on board the ships.

However, the concept of shore power is not new. In some Asian harbours and in Los Angeles, shore power has been mandatory since 2014. All major shipping companies have therefore already gained experience with this type of power supply from renewable energies. In Hamburg, however, there will be no early connection obligation. The ports must first be equipped and prepared accordingly, and the container ships themselves must also be converted before the project can be fully implemented.


The Port of Hamburg continues to be a European pioneer in terms of modernisation and sustainability. With the introduction of shore-side power supply, it is sending a strong signal in favour of more environmentally friendly shipping and making a significant contribution to reducing emissions. It remains exciting to see which innovative project will be tackled next. The Port of Hamburg thus remains a shining example of the successful combination of technological progress and ecological responsibility.

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