OFFMASTER: Development of Opportunities and Challenges for the Port and Shipyard Industries in the Course of Offshore Wind Energy Development


In order to achieve the ambitious climate protection targets of the German government and the expansion targets for offshore wind energy in the coming decades, policy makers, the offshore wind energy industry and the maritime sector must be aligned.

This project from the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation compared and assessed existing scenarios for the expansion of offshore wind energy based on expected technology development by 2020/2030. Future requirements for the port and shipyard industry were derived from this, and the function of the port and shipyard industry as well as the requirements for the offshore wind energy sector were determined.

On the basis of these analyses and the market potential determined for ports and (special) shipbuilding, recommendations were made for the further cooperation of the offshore wind sector and the maritime sector, and above all for policy makers.

In the course of the project, previous findings and studies were compiled in thematic areas in order to get a comprehensive picture of activities, potential and future development to be achieved.

Project measures

Four work packages were dealt with in the framework of the project:

WP1: Expansion path of offshore wind energy

  • Expansion of offshore wind energy by 2020/2030 - European developments with a focus on Germany
  • Technological developments: Performance, weights, proportions, foundation structures, quantities of large components, site development (distances from the coast, water depths)

WP2: Identification of new requirements for ports resulting from offshore wind energy development

  • Requirements for ports, harbour types, port functions
  • Description of the existing and planned port infrastructure and port capacity
  • Adjustment of the port capacity to the needs of the offshore wind industry
  • Assessment of market potential; presentation of opportunities and challenges for German port locations; possible strategies

WP3: Determination of new requirements for shipyards resulting from offshore wind energy development

  • Presentation of new requirements / challenges for shipyards
  • What are the suitable (intelligent), powerful ship concepts of the future? Presentation of the required special types of ships
  • Which vessel capacities are necessary / sufficient for today's and future offshore wind technologies? (German and European market)
  • Assessment of market potentials; risk assessment - describe opportunities and challenges for German shipyards; possible strategies

WP 4: Development of trading suggestions for the port and harbour sector

  • How can the maritime industry adapt itself to the requirements of offshore wind energy so that the identified potentials can be fulfilled to a large extent by the German maritime industry?
  • Development of an expansion strategy for ports against the background of the great uncertainties regarding size ratios, quantities, periods, weights of the large components which are shipped, turned over or pre-assembled in ports
  • Development strategy for  special shipbuilding
  • Coordinate with the National Masterplan Maritime Technologies
  • Proposals for creating synergy effects between the maritime industry and the offshore wind energy sector


Project partners and support:

The most important prerequisite for successful project realisation and acceptance of the project results was the early and intensive involvement of all stakeholders. Previous findings, preliminary work and studies were therefore collated, and workshops and bilateral interviews were conducted with the participants.

In particular, the following stakeholders and their preparatory work have been taken into account by the project:

  • Working group of the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation
  • Federal ministries (BMU, BMWi, BMVBS) and authorities (including BSH, WSV)
  • Country representatives
  • Port operators and logistics
  • Economic development groups, chambers of commerce
  • Regional wind networks such as WAB, WEN Rostock, windcomm Schleswig-Holstein, Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland
  • Shipbuilding associations such as GMT, VDMA, VDR, VSM, ZDS
  • Manufacturers and suppliers
  • Operators of offshore wind farms
  • Trade unions
  • Environmental associations

Project time frame:

The project ran from August 2011 until September 2012.