HHLA opens hydrogen test field in the Port of Hamburg

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) opened the first test field for hydrogen-powered port logistics as well as the corresponding hydrogen refuelling station in the Port of Hamburg today. The test field at the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) is another milestone on the path to decarbonising logistics. Together with its partner companies from the Clean Port & Logistics cluster, HHLA is testing the reliability of hydrogen to supply heavy goods vehicles during operations.

Angela Titzrath, Chief Executive Officer of HHLA, opened the test field today together with Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator for Economy and Innovation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Christian Maaß, Director of Heat, Hydrogen & Efficiency in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Antje Roß, Manager Port Networks and Applications, NOW GmbH and Dr Lucien Robroek, President of Technology Solutions Division of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, by successfully filling a hydrogen-powered tractor unit.

Angela Titzrath, CEO of HHLA: “We’re pleased to open the first test field for hydrogen-powered port logistics today. It enables us to test future technologies, gather valuable data and evaluate the results. In this way, we are shaping the sustainable future of logistics and continuing to invest in innovative technologies. We are sharing our findings with companies facing similar challenges in order to develop climate-friendly transport solutions together. Our objective is clear: We want to decarbonise the logistics sector and achieve our target of climate-neutral operations throughout the Group by 2040.”

Dr Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport: “With Clean Port & Logistics, a lighthouse project for the use of hydrogen in port logistics has been created at the Port of Hamburg. From forklift trucks to tractor units and trucks - the hydrogen infrastructure we are funding here is paving the way for climate-friendly logistics on site. I hope that the hydrogen test field will have a strong signalling effect thanks to the commitment of the port players. This is the only way we will succeed in making logistics in Germany climate-friendly.”

Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator for Economy and Innovation: “The opening is an important step for the Port of Hamburg. In future, it will enable the use of hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicles at the terminals and beyond. The potential for the Port of Hamburg and the logistics sector is significant - for example, trucks that regularly come to the Port of Hamburg can also benefit from such an infrastructure in the future. The test field helps us to gain important experience in this area. HHLA and its partners are thus continuing to drive forward the transformation and decarbonization of handling and transport processes.”

Dr Lucien Robroek, President of Technology Solutions Division at Hyster-Yale Materials Handling: “Hyster is a pioneer in the development of electric heavy-duty trucks including container handling vehicles powered by Nuvera® fuel cells. We are excited to be working with HHLA to uncover new possibilities and learnings as we begin testing the Hyster® hydrogen fuel cell-powered terminal tractor in a live port application. We continue to collaborate with forward thinking operations that are keen to explore new solutions as part of their journey towards both sustainability and efficiency.”

With the opening of the test field and inauguration of the hydrogen refuelling station, the required infrastructure is now ready to speed up the transition to emissions-free heavy goods logistics and port operations, and to drive forward the decarbonisation of logistics. Equipment such as straddle carriers, empty container stackers, forklift trucks, reach stackers, tractor units and trucks can be efficiently filled to 350 bar with green hydrogen. The refuelling station will be open to the public and thus also offers other companies the opportunity to test climate-friendly transport solutions. The check-in at the terminal requires registration in the passify app. You can find more information here.

Since 2022 HHLA has been working together with more than 40 partner companies from around the world in the Clean Port & Logistics cluster. The common goal is to develop solutions to bring hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicles and terminal equipment to market quickly as well as to put in place the measures necessary for their use. The concepts developed by the working groups for operation, safety, maintenance, refuelling and supply are tested and optimised in practical operation in the test field at CTT. The first trials have been conducted at the refuelling station with equipment from Hyster-Yale, VWG Oldenburg and CMB.TECH’s hydrogen truck over the past few weeks. Their collaboration in CPL helps the companies on the way to decarbonising their processes and making meaningful, climate-friendly investments as they compile the necessary information and practical experience. 

The cluster as well as the refuelling station received funding of approximately three million euros from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport as part of a national innovation programme for hydrogen and fuel cell technology. The funding guidelines are coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PTJ). 

As part of the “Balanced Logistics” sustainability strategy, HHLA is aiming to become climate-neutral throughout the Group by 2040. To achieve this, HHLA has been relying on the electrification of its processes and equipment across Europe for many years. Hydrogen could make a significant contribution to the further decarbonisation of logistics. In addition to using hydrogen for its heavy goods equipment, HHLA is also active in the field of import and distribution. With its extensive European network of seaport terminals and intermodal connections, HHLA is very well equipped to take advantage of the opportunities in hydrogen import and transportation.

About Clean Port & Logistics

HHLA established Clean Port & Logistics (CPL) as an innovation cluster to test hydrogen-powered equipment in heavy goods and port logistics. The cluster brings together equipment manufacturers, port and logistics companies, academic partners, producers of green hydrogen, software companies and operators and manufacturers of refuelling stations. Through supra-regional cooperation, we conduct tests and investigate how hydrogen can be reliably used as a fuel in port handling and heavy-lift logistics. The cluster carries out simulations and investigations and develops training concepts for this purpose. Currently, more than 40 partner companies from around the world are part of the cluster. Participation is in principle open to all interested companies. You can find more information on the website.