HMM Launches Program Recycling Worn-Out Mooring Lines

mooring line recycling
HMM is recycling worn-out mooring lines instead of incinerating them or disposing of them in landfill (HMM)

Published Feb 23, 2023 7:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

South Korea’s shipping company announced that it has launched an innovative program that will recycle mooring lines used on the company’s ships. The program is part of the growing focus on creating circular ecosystems that reduce waste and the energy involved in the manufacture of the products. HMM is the first large shipping company and the first in South Korea to adopt the program while others including Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Maersk have pilot programs also working to recycle waste ropes for their ships.

HMM points to the scale of the waste within its fleet noting that one of its ships can use 20 lines in the process of docking and mooring a ship. Lines are of course replaced when they show wear and routinely replaced every five to seven years regardless of condition to ensure the safety of the vessel. HMM reports that on average it produces 20 tons of waste mooring lines each year. Historically the lines were discarded often incinerated or dumped in landfill.

To create a circular economy, HMM has signed a business agreement with a South Korean company, Foresys, which specialized in marine waste management. Together the two companies will work to recycle the used lines.

The process developed for the lines first involves processing the lines to remove foreign substances from the surface of the ropes. According to the companies, it is an eco-friendly technology that removes salt and other foreign substances from the surface of the lines. During the process, they report about 80 to 90 percent of the waste lines are recycled and prepared for future use. 

The recycled material is broken down into pellets or yarns. They report it can be made into products made of nylon, such as clothes and household goods. 

It is the latest element of recycling to reduce waste from HMM’s ships. The company highlights that other efforts include the recycling of waste PET bottles generated by the ships. The bottles are collected and recycled and made into new items such as clothing.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Wilhelmsen Ships Service set an initial goal to collect and handle 10,000 tons of ropes annually in their pilot program announced in September 2022. The companies said they were beginning to collect and pick up ropes at select ports and sending them on to their rope factory for examination and testing of new usage. Among the uses they were looking at was reusing fibers for mooring leisure boats or aquaculture projects.

Denmark’s Ocean Plastic Forum announced a project that would collect used lines from Maersk and explore reuse. They pointed out that the lines are made of a mix of PP and PET fibers which are difficult to separate. Danish companies Plastix and Trebo were participating in the project to develop methods to separate and sort the different types of plastic from the mooring lines.