New facilities and green port development should prepare the Port of Hirtshals for the future

"It will be a game changer!" This was the statement from Gary Walker, director of one of the larger European ro/ro shipping companies, when the Port of Hirtshals first introduced him to the thoughts of developing the port.

Improved facilities
The development within cargo transport in recent years is expected to accelerate further in the coming years. This is based on the advantages offered by transport by sea in terms of being more environmentally friendly and lowering congestions on the roads. To accommodate this development, the facilities at the Port of Hirtshals will be expanded with a new entry and an outer port basin which should improve the navigational conditions significantly. This will make it possible to call the Port of Hirtshals with larger vessels and in harsher weather conditions than today. Furthermore, it will be easier for vessels to navigate the port, as well as their loading and unloading opportunities will be improved with further quay areas and ro/ro berths. The expansion will also include more commercial land and parking areas for trailers and lorries.

- Improved facilities at the port should enable the transport sector to plan transport solutions which are environmentally more friendly and economically stronger than those we see today. This provides the shipping companies, and thereby also the transport sector, with new opportunities, when future logistics and distribution solutions are to be planned in Northern Europe, says Anker Laden-Andersen Chairman of the board at the Port of Hirtshals.

Preliminary draft of the future port expansion, which is expected to be finished in 2025-2026. The location and number of wind turbines has not yet been determined.
Preliminary draft of the future port expansion, which is expected to be finished in 2025-2026. The location and number of wind turbines has not yet been determined.

The Port of Hirtshals is part of EU's prioritised transport network TEN-T, and the development of the Port of Hirtshals will ensure a better utilisation of the total capacity on the North European sea, road and rail network. The establishment of improved and combined transport solutions is one of the specific goals that the Port of Hirtshals is working towards in order to contribute to an upgrade of the transport industry and make cargo transport more sustainable.

As an extra aspect of the new and improved port facilities, the Port of Hirtshals also wishes to involve the public, including the local population in Hirtshals and in Hjoerring Municipality as well as tourists and other visitors. At the moment, the Port of Hirtshals is working on initiatives such as viewing platforms, areas for recreation and angling, and the opportunity to move around the new port areas either on foot or by car.

Green port development
The port's physical location, the existing infrastructure and the plans to upgrade the port's facilities will create an opportunity for the Port of Hirtshals to enter the marked of green ports. In connection with the upgrade of the Port of Hirtshals to a version 2.0, a development process will be initiated with the intend to attract companies and investments with a focus on green transition. Simultaneously, the conditions for the port's existing companies will be optimised.

As part of the green development, an independent development company will be established. The purpose of this company is to manage the development of those parts of the port that are not directly attached to the ordinary port operation. In this connection, the Port of Hirtshals has employed Steen Harding Hintze as director. Steen brings along a large knowledge within this area from his previous job at the energy park GreenLab Skive, which he helped cofound.

- We want to make the port area a centre for production and utilisation of green energy by creating a sector coupling between e.g. district heating, green power and liquid biogas (LBG). Today, several companies at the port have a large quantity of surplus heat which goes unused. In the future, this could be used in an energy symbiosis by other companies or the by district heating companies, says Steen Harding Hintze, future director for the new development company at the Port of Hirtshals.

The Port of Hirtshals as a centre for production and utilisation of renewable energy.
The Port of Hirtshals as a centre for production and utilisation of renewable energy.

Furthermore, the Port of Hirtshals should be able to support the development of different means of propulsion, including for instance green power for e.g. hydrogen, ammonia and other green fuels. The demand for a larger production and utilisation of power at the Port of Hirtshals means that further wind turbines will be erected at the port in addition to the existing wind turbines. Previous experience shows that the turbines can be an economic advantage and contribute to the financing of the new port facilities.

The new development company should also create a knowledge and competency centre for the ports at the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the Baltic Sea. This should be done by gathering the port's companies, public authorities, knowledge institutions, private investors and the utility sector to develop new green business models and solutions, continues Steen Harding Hintze.

The next step
In relation to the new development company, the Port of Hirtshals is currently working on the formal settings surrounding the company and expects the company to be founded during the summer. After this, the work of strengthening the green perspectives at the Port of Hirtshals can really begin.

The next step concerning the port expansion is authority approvals. The Port of Hirtshals expects the new facilities to be ready for use in 2025-2026.

- We have already completed the preliminary analysis and pilot studies, and we have outlined a strong business case where the conditions have been stress-tested several times. Therefore, we believe that we have a good and solid foundation to work on, finishes Laden-Andersen.