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Hapag-Lloyd Explores Ammonia Bunkering in Germany and US with Mabanaft

ammonia bunkering in Hamburg
Hapag and Mabanaft will explore the steps to ammonia bunker in Hamburg and Houston (Hamburg file photo)

Published Jan 27, 2023 6:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

Hapag-Lloyd is joining a project underway in Germany to evaluate options for the supply of ammonia as bunker fuel. Germany’s Mabanaft, through its subsidiary Oiltanking Deutschland, is working with AirProducts to develop Germany's first large-scale, green energy import terminal at its current facility in Hamburg. Hapag is joining in the effort by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Mabanaft to evaluate options for the supply of ammonia as bunker fuel to the company’s ships in and around the Port of Hamburg, Germany, and also at the Port of Houston, Texas.

“We intend to play an active role in shaping the energy transition and offer our customers innovative fuel solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Volker Ebeling, Senior Vice President of New Energy, Chemicals & Gas at Mabanaft. “In shipping, we intend to support that transition for example through investments in ammonia production and the development of related supply infrastructure.” 

The company highlights that while ammonia is already a critical feedstock for the chemical industry, it offers several advantages also in other industries, like shipping. Mabanaft is in the process of developing infrastructure in Hamburg for the import and supply of clean ammonia for a lead customer, along with a larger infrastructure investment program, to create a platform for low-carbon fuel alternatives. 

Together, Mabanaft and Hapag-Lloyd will assess the viability of and the options for the safe handling of clean ammonia as a bunker fuel in and around the Port of Hamburg. The companies will evaluate the commercial, technical, and regulatory requirements and engage with all relevant stakeholders as part of this initiative. In a second step, a similar assessment will be done for the Port of Houston.

“When produced with renewable energy, ammonia is a promising sustainable fuel that may become an integral part of the energy mix of future maritime shipping,”  said Jan Christensen, Senior Director of Global Fuel Purchasing at Hapag-Lloyd. “We look forward to this partnership with Mabanaft and to jointly making progress on the industry’s path towards climate neutrality.”

In November last year, Mabanaft announced the intention to build Germany’s first large-scale, green energy import terminal in Hamburg, together with project partner Air Products. The project is an important step towards the development of a green ammonia import and distribution infrastructure in the Port of Hamburg. Targeted to provide hydrogen to Germany in 2026, the planned import terminal is to be located at Mabanaft’s existing Blumensand terminal in the port. 

Mabanaft is also a shareholder in Gulf Coast Ammonia, an ammonia production facility scheduled for commissioning by mid-2023in Texas City, Texas. To provide the international shipping industry with a future-ready fuel option, Mabanaft is securing clean ammonia supply and exploring opportunities for the development of related bunkering infrastructure in and around the Port of Hamburg and along the United States Gulf Coast.