With their second Sustainability Report, the port company Niedersachsen Ports (NPorts) is presenting the social, environmental, and future-oriented developments in the ports.

Press release: Oldenburg | April 7, 2021

NPorts would like to invite you to a virtual and digital harbor tour. At various stations within the port, employees and customers are introducing sustainable projects. How do you manage to keep the ports navigable with the help of natural resources? What is being done to remove plastic from our ports? What is NPorts doing to make the arrival registration for ships more digital? These and other exciting questions are answered on our stroll through the port. The Sustainability Report will also give you an insight into the focuses of the sustainable activities, and on how the ports have developed in terms of goal parameters and objectives. And it is evident that: Sustainable, innovative projects do go hand-in-hand with a healthy business development.

Find the full Sustainability Report here

Get a digital tour of the Sustainability Report

Charting the Course Towards Climate Neutrality (Carbon Neutrality) 

During the past years, NPorts has implemented a variety of measures in an effort to contribute to global climate protection. “Not only were we able to reduce our energy consumption dramatically, but also our CO2 emissions. We have already surpassed the halfway point towards our goal to reduce the climate gases by another 25% by 2025, and we are on the right track towards climate neutrality” explains Holger Banik, Managing Director of Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG and of JadeWeserPort Realisierungs GmbH & Co. KG. We owe this positive development for instance to the gradual conversion of the lighting to energy-efficient LED technology, the streamlining and updating of heating facilities under environmental aspects, and to the conversion of our fleet of vehicles to alternative fuels. Even the composition of the electricity providers has an impact on the positive climate footprint. NPorts sources almost exclusively eco- friendly electricity and even produces some of it themselves, with the help of photovoltaic systems.

Innovative Projects in Every Port

NPorts works on many digital innovations and eco-friendly projects for future scenarios in a site and country transcending manner. In Brake, we are applying the smart software solution “dashPORT” that streamlines, visualizes, and analyzes energy consumption at the port. When detecting high consumption values, the system derives commensurate measures to reduce them. The project “SmartKai” (SmartQuay) in Cuxhaven comprises the development of a digital mooring assistance system for pilots and captains for the avoidance of averages. In this concept, sensors installed on the quay walls transfer data, thus supporting the ships’ navigators in their port maneuvers.

The project “DUALPorts” features probes to find and gently remove and clean up contaminated sediments. A commensurate pilot trial, where contaminated sediments are targeted and aerated, is planned for this year.

The test phase for a lighting control system at the Norden branch that ensures that the ports are illuminated in a demand-driven way was a success. In addition, a second photovoltaic system was commissioned in Norddeich.

In Wilhelmshaven, we have now three of the so-called “Seabins” in service that skim debris and oil residues from the water. By 2025, 25 of these ‘garbage cans of the seas’ are slated to be installed in the ports owned by NPorts.

Sustainability: Strategically Envisioned and Systematically Implemented

NPorts’ Sustainability Strategy hafen+ should be understood as an added value strategy for people, environment, and for the economic performance. Sustainability starts already with the (potential) employees. NPorts is invested in the reconcilability of job and family, and since 2018, we have been certified as a family-friendly employer. In order to strengthen NPorts’ employer brand, we created a comprehensive Career Portal and a corporate blog (Hafenpost) last year. Nowadays, environmental, social, and business topics are firmly anchored in all areas of the ports. This can also be seen in the successful re-certification for the environmental management system PERS (Port Environmental Review System) and for the quality management system ISO 9001:2015 during the reporting period.

In collaboration with the work group Niedersächsische Seehäfen (Niedersachsen Seaports), NPorts develops outlook papers for the ports on a regular basis to ensure the economic performance for the future.

The publication of the report enabled NPorts to develop a Sustainability Portal.

Under https://www.nports.de/nachhaltigkeit/hafen/ you can find the Harbor Tour and additional information about NPorts’ Sustainability Management in digital form. There, you will also find the current report.

Your Contact To Us:

Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG Hindenburgstraße 26 – 30 | 26122 Oldenburg

T +49 (0) 441 35 020-310 | F +49 (0) 441 35 020-999

info@nports.de | www.nports.de

Niedersachsen Ports is owner and operator of five seaports, seven island supply ports, plus three regional ports along the Ge rman North Sea shore. The registered office of the company is in Oldenburg. Through the branch offices in Brake, Cuxhaven (with satellite location Stade), Emden and Wilhelmshaven, Niedersachsen Ports is managing the port infrastructure in the large seaports of the State o f Niedersachsen. In addition, the Norden branch operates the supply ports for the East Frisian Islands. This way, Niedersachsen Ports is able to offer a multitude of port locations from one single source.

In a world where sustainability is increasingly in focus and ships are growing in size and volume, is there a future for smaller, regional ports?  A workshop hosted by the North Sea Region funded project DUAL Ports provided some interesting answers.

By Sofie Forfang, nortseablog.eu, Joint Secretariat, North Sea Region Programme

On 10 October, the DUAL Ports project held a workshop in Brussels entitled Innovative green port solutions in small and medium sized ports.

The DUAL Ports project aims to decarbonise regional entrepreneurial ports through a shared eco-innovation programme and runs eight pilots demonstrating green port concepts.

The workshop was organised as a side event at the EU Week of Regions and Cities and brought together key stakeholders in a lively discussion on the greening of smaller ports.

Blue growth – a key driver of European economy

Gesine Meissner, President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Seas, Rivers, Islands and special envoy on Maritime Policy, highlighted the role of regulatory frameworks in driving the greening of European ports.

She recognised the role of EU-funded projects like DUAL ports in helping regional ports meet upcoming sustainability demands. According to Meissner, DUAL Ports is ‘a very good project which can really bring us a step forward by stimulating eco-innovation in ports.’

Felix Leinemann of DG Mare.

Felix Leinemann of DG Mare agreed, commending the DUAL Ports project for trailblazing solutions that complement other initiatives across Europe. He underlined the growing economic importance of European blue growth, currently with an estimated turnover of 566 billion €, creating minimum 3.5 million jobs  and with many emerging businesses driven by new technology e.g. within circular economy, desalinisation, big data, sensors, and autonomous vessels.

Pilots show positive results

Two DUAL Ports pilots were presented at the workshop:

GREEN OFFICER: Sustainability manager at the German Niedersachsen Ports Matthäus Wuckowski presented the pilot’s sustainability strategy that incorporates eco-innovation as well as other aspects such as growth and customer satisfaction. The strategy is now driving numerous types of innovation, such as the installation of an intelligent LED lighting system where lights are automatically switched on when needed.

Matthäus Wuckowski talks about the pilot Green Officer.
Matthäus Wuckowski presented the pilot Green Officer and the sustainability strategy of the Niedersachsen Ports in Germany.

SOIL: Development Manager Jan-Jaap Cramer presented how the Danish Port of Vordingborg is using construction and demolition waste, fly ash, and slag to expand the port. This reduces the cost of the expansion, saves costs of depositing the waste, and speeds up the port construction since the materials are readily available in the local area. Also, recycling local waste material reduces the carbon footprint due to avoided transport.

Jan-Jaap Cramer presenting eco-innovation in the Port of Vordingborg.
Jan-Jaap Cramer presenting an innovative approach to port expansion, successfully trialled by the Port of Vordingborg, Denmark.

Initial cost-benefit analyses by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics indicate that the money invested into both pilots has been well-spent.

EU frameworks key to greening of regional ports

Much of the discussion revolved around the challenges facing ports can be met and how EU policy and incentive frameworks may help.

Wim Stubbe of the Flemish Port of Oostende, Flanders (the Lead Beneficiary of DUAL Ports) was clear on why EU funding is crucial: ‘Small and medium ports need EU support due to lack of resources and expertise’, he said, explaining that many small ports are run by less than a handful of people.

Sotiris Raptis of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) called for tax exemptions for shoreside power supply. This would put electricity on a more equal footing with bunker oil and other fossil fuels that are currently exempt from energy tax when used for shipping.

Audience at the DUAL Ports workshop

However, it can be difficult for smaller ports to attract electricity companies. The company Blue Power Synergy presented a new invention which might solve the issue: A floating, solar-powered device designed to provide power for ships. ‘The EU should provide the platform for realising this kind of invention’, Wim Stubbe suggested.

The strong global trend of supersize sea carriers was also brought up as a core challenge for the smaller ports.   ‘What we really need is ships that are smaller, smarter, and lighter. The building of smaller ships should be better incentivised,’ said Jan-Jaap Cramer.

Transnational cooperation bolsters regional ports for the future

Do the trends of supersized vessels and increasing sustainability requirements put the future of regional ports at stake? Not necessarily. Smaller ports are still needed for effective hinterland transport and also have a role to play in the local community, e.g. by catering to off-shore energy facilities.  And as DUAL Ports shows, transnational cooperation helps the smaller ports make headway and innovate for sustainability, in a way that is tailored to their needs.

Port of Oostende. Photo: Wim Stubbe

Delegates found that transnational cooperation speeds up positive development in smaller ports due to the knowledge transfer between partners. Also, the DUAL Port pilots form a basis for further initiatives reaching into the future. For example, Niedersachsen Ports’ sustainability strategy has paved the way for a systematic approach to eco-innovative port development and has led the ports to set green targets  for 2025, e.g. for the launch of hydrogen utilities.

The pilots also inspire other ports. According to Wim Stubbe, the eco-innovation efforts of the Port of Oostende are already garnering significant attention: ‘We have at least two visits every month from foreign delegations. Even people from India and Taiwan come to learn about our activities.’

The workshop thus revealed that there is both a challenge and an opportunity for smaller ports to diversify, to specialise and even to become a laboratory for innovation in logistics, port management and blue growth.

You can read more about EU funded projects on the North Sea Region blog here.

On October 10, DUAL Ports had organized a workshop in Brussels, during the EU Week of Regions and Cities. 25 participants from the maritime industry, EU policy representatives and partners of DUAL Ports spend the afternoon learning about innovative green port solutions, and had fruitful discussions about how to tackle challenges in greening port business.

Felix Leinemann, Head of Unit Blue Economy Sectors, Aquaculture and Maritime Spatial Planning in DG MARE addressed the opportunities for Blue Growth and informed the interested listeners that blue economy is growing exponentially compared to other sectors. Developments in new technologies and digitalization, underwater robotics and innovative aquaculture creates a great potential for growth. He also stated the importance of ecological management – taking the environment into consideration during this vast development. As he put it – “We cannot make a profit, if we do not keep the sea healthy”.

The growing industry is also one of the main motivations for the existence of DUAL Ports, which has the objective of making small and medium sized (SME) ports more sustainable, but also more competitive. In a growing economy and with large investments in new technologies, SME ports often struggle with limited funds and staff. In order to tackle this, DUAL Ports works to develop methods and test concrete measures that will save both cost and carbon emission, for the benefit of the ports.

The audience was given a short presentation of three DUAL Ports pilots, by representatives of Port of Vordingborg, Denmark and Niedersachsen Ports, Germany. The pilots on sustainable and intelligent ports lighting, sustainable port management and port extension with waste materials demonstrated how  these challenges are being tackled by SME ports. The session was followed by a debate between the speakers and the audience about how to improve conditions, to make sustainable ambitions more doable for small ports. Some of the main topics for discussion were the technologies available today and the legislation that needs to follow, and adapt to new methods and framework conditions. Also, the audience addressed questions related to funding – particularly why funding is often earmarked for large ports who already have resources – opposed to small ports, with limited financial and staff resources. The solution is still to come.

The keynote speaker, Gesine Meißner, President of the European Parliament Intergroup Seas, Rivers, Islands was very positive about DUAL Ports and stated that all ports should be made aware of the findings that have come and will continue to come out of the project.

The workshop was organized by the DUAL Ports partnership;  hosted by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), Niedersachsen Ports and Region

The Joint Secretariat of the North Sea Region also attended the workshop – you can read their impressions here.

The workshop agenda is available here.

In order to secure the use of ports in the future, and still respect issues of climate change, it is important for ports to optimize their processes. That is the goal of the Green Port Officer – to implement and coordinate a sustainability management system that will ensure a continuous improvement of processes for a sustainable future.

The “Green Port Officer” is implementing and coordinating sustainability projects throughout Niedersachsen Ports, Germany. The progress made and best practice examples are shared with other partners in the DUAL Ports project, and the knowledge gained will be shared with other ports as well.

Dr. Matthäus Wuczkowski is Head of Sustainability Management at Niedersachsen Ports.

“We wish to pave the way for a sustainable development of ports. We are developing a sustainability strategy for the ports that consists of concrete goals and measures to ensure concentration on the main aspects that can make a difference, and by triggering operative projects that reduce carbon emission throughout the ports,” says Dr. Matthäus Wuczkowski.

Niedersachsen Ports has an ambition to become a responsible future oriented organization by 2025, and the Green Port Officer is a significant factor to achieve this goal. To achieve this goal, different sustainability measures are being developed;

  • Changing light sources from traditional halogen lights or natrium vapor lamps to low carbon LED lights, e.g. in offices and storage areas.
  • Optimizing the heating systems at the ports, saving costs and energy.
  • Offering discounts for environmentally friendly ships, calling at the ports.
  • Implementing an intelligent lighting system at a trackfield in the Port of Emden. Read more about the LED Pilot.
  • Fostering the use of renewable energy at the ports (e.g. solar power or green power)
  • Implementing an infrastructure for e-mobility

The GPO is not only about implementing hardware, but also about sustainability communication. The goal of sustainability communication is to raise awareness among employees – By sharing knowledge gained with partners and clients, it creates awareness and a motivation to reduce carbon emissions.

Results and best practice examples will be shared transnationally within DUAL Ports and with other ports.

Facts about NPorts

Niedersachsen Ports is the owner and operator of five seaports, seven island supply ports and three regional ports on the German North Sea coast.

Several of Niedersachsen Ports’ branches have been certified with PERS – Port Environmental Review System, a certification given by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO).

The head quarter of the company is in Oldenburg. With its branch offices in Brake, Cuxhaven (incl. Stade), Emden and Wilhelmshaven, Niedersachsen Ports manages the port infrastructure in the large seaports of the state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). The Norden branch also operates the supply ports for the East Frisian Islands. Thus, Niedersachsen Ports offers a variety of port locations from a single source.

For more information about the Green Port Officer pilot, please contact:

Dr. Matthäus Wuczkowski

Sustainability Manager

Niedersachsen Ports


Tel: +49 441 35020613