Denmark’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker terminal has begun operations at the Port of Hirtshals.
Operated by cruise-ferry company Fjord Line and built by the Liquiline Group, the facility has a 500 m³ storage tank and will initially only bunker Fjord Line’s two LNG-powered cruise ferries, Bergensfjord and Stavangerfjord. But plans are already under way to offer general LNG bunkering.
“We wish to expand the terminal so that we can also offer bunkering to other ships running on LNG,” said Fjord Line CEO Morten Larsen. “With this, we are expanding the commercial foundation to develop LNG supply for ships on one of the world’s most trafficked sailing routes.”
Fjord Line calls at Hirtshals from Norwegian ports daily. Its two Group Fosen-built, 170 m-long cruise ferries each have 300 cabins and can accommodate 1,500 passengers and 600 cars. The first launched vessel, Stavangerfjord, won the IMO award for energy efficiency in 2013.
Bergensfjord and Stavangerfjord are the world’s first large cruise ferries powered exclusively by LNG via 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce engines. Their green technology means the ships more than meet the new, stricter emissions levels in Northern Europe.
Port of Hirtshals chairman Anker Laden-Andersen said, “With the international demands for emissions limitation, the LNG market in Europe is now just beginning to open up, so it’s important that Hirtshals aims for a favourable position in the future.
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“Over the next few years, the network of LNG terminals in northern Europe will be developed. Fjord Line’s investment in Denmark’s first LNG terminal has established Hirtshals’ position in the market.”
On the Skagerrak coast at the top of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark, Hirtshals is perhaps best known for its cruise-ferry trade. Annually, thousands of mostly Norwegian, German, and Dutch tourists travel between the port and the Norwegian cities of Bergen, Kristiansand, Langesund, Larvik, and Stavanger, and as well as further afield. Smyril Line, for example, runs a service from Hirtshals to Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands and Seyðisfjörður in Iceland.
Hirtshals also has plans to become a focal point for cargo transport in Scandinavia and evolve into a Scandinavian logistics centre.
Central to that is the current 250,000 m² expansion costing DKK110 million (USD16.4 million) that Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Smith inaugurated in February this year. The land is being reclaimed from the sea – about 700,000m³ of sand will be used by contractor M. J. Eriksson – to benefit the Østhavnen and Nordsø Terminal.
That is the focus of an array of infrastructure investments at Hirtshals costing around DKK180 million in total. They include a major road connecting with Denmark’s motorway network and a rail cargo terminal, the latter a joint effort by the Danish state, Hjørring Municipality, and the port.