Coastal states call for tenfold funding increase to German ports in energy transition

Coastal states call for tenfold funding increase to German ports in energy transition

Clean Energy Wire — 2023-09-12

Maritime and Ports

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's ports require huge investments to maintain their crucial position in supplying energy and goods, and to keep up with the energy transformation, said coastal state lawmakers and industry representatives ahead of the National Maritime Conference on 14 September. Funding for seaports has remained unchanged for 20 years and would need to increase tenfold due to inflation and rising construction costs alone, according to a joint statement. Without major infrastructural investment, Germany's ports on the North Sea and the Baltic Sea could continue to lose importance "despite their high-share of climate-friendly rail transport links and flow of international goods". According to the coastal states, the energy transition can only succeed with functioning seaports, which themselves are going through a major transformation, partly to support the green energy transition. The coastal states said they have had to shoulder most of the costs for port modernization and maintenance themselves, adding the delayed new national port strategy must go beyond "general statements about the importance of ports" and include concrete funding measures. Germany's coastal states recently said they wanted hundreds of millions of euros from the from the federal government to transform their ports into energy hubs for liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and offshore wind. 

The importance of ports as energy hubs has grown rapidly because of the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, as the government was forced to replace Russian pipeline gas partly with LNG imports which enter the country via floating terminals. Germany also has ambitious plans to expand its offshore wind capacity and establish an infrastructure for the import of green hydrogen.