Integration of ports in global hydrogen supply chains: opportunities and challenges

June 2nd, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Whole supply chain, Export potential, Mobility

Lead Organisation:
Australian Maritime College – University of Tasmania

Kobe University – Japan; Liverpool John Moores University – United Kingdom


Start date:
May 2022

Completion date:
October 2023

Key contacts:
Lead Investigator: Associate Professor Peggy Shu-Ling Chen:

AUD$84,342 -International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU)

Project total cost:
AUD$108,175 combined cash and in-kind contributions

Project summary description:
Ports are an important infrastructure within the hydrogen supply chain, and hence development of the hydrogen industry will bring potentials for ports through different activities.

Ports facilitate hydrogen transport logistics either for export or import such as handling and providing services to ships adopting hydrogen fuel (e.g. refuelling).

Moreover, the adoption of hydrogen technologies (such as fuel cells) to power marine service vessels such as tugs, and other ports assets (e.g., vehicles and heavy machinery used within the port) can be an option to reduce CO2 emissions or achieve zero emission.

Other potential opportunities include that ports and their surrounding areas can be good locations to produce hydrogen if they are close to renewable energy sources.

Therefore, ports can act as a Hub for hydrogen activities across the whole supply chain from production to consumption.

Notwithstanding the potential opportunities, there will be challenges in operations such as infrastructure and facility development (e.g., refuelling infrastructure), safety issues, working practices and management procedure, rules development, government policy and regulations, and community awareness/understanding.

With the expected emergence of large-scale international hydrogen trade and application of hydrogen technologies in maritime-related applications, ports play vital roles in developing a sustainable hydrogen economy and supply chain.

This research aims to explore how ports can be integrated in the hydrogen supply chain to co-commit to the goal of decarbonisation in 2050. It will focus on two areas:

  • Firstly, ports involvement in logistics services provision to hydrogen as a commodity, and also to ships adopting hydrogen;
  • Secondly, ports role as an enabler of hydrogen application in powering available assets to commit to the reduction of GHG or become a CO2 neutral port.

The objectives of this international research, with a hydrogen supply chain ports-focus in Australia, Japan and UK, are to determine the infrastructure and facilities required for ports to facilitate hydrogen logistics both for import and export; evaluate risks of hydrogen logistics operation in ports; identify the requirements and barriers to adopting hydrogen technology in ports and terminals; and developing a framework for logistics operation and application of hydrogen in ports including working process, handling, training, and safety.

Related publications and key links:
A review on ports’ readiness to facilitated international hydrogen trade, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
20220205_Integration of ports in global hydrogen supply chains Opportunities and challenges final report.pdf – Google Drive. Final report

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable


Reviewed: May 2024