16,000 TEU container ship HMM Nuri is moored at Busan New Port using a mooring line

HMM joins forces with Foresys to recycle worn-out mooring lines

Korean shipping company HMM has signed a business agreement with marine waste management company Foresys to establish a circular economy system using discarded mooring ropes.

HMM Nuri; Image credit HMM

Mooring lines are thick ropes used to moor ships in ports, and HMM generates about 20 tons of waste from worn-out mooring lines every year, which have been sent to landfills or incinerated as waste.

With this agreement, HMM and Foresys will remove and process salt and foreign substances from the surface of old mooring lines with eco-friendly technology and then recycle them to produce raw material for nylon, establishing a circular system. The nylon raw material produced in the form of pellets or yarns can be used to make products such as clothes, miscellaneous goods, and household goods.

Mooring lines are usually replaced every 5 to 7 years, as they are crucial for the safety of ships and crews.

According to HMM, about 80 to 90 percent of retired mooring ropes can be recycled on a weight basis.

HMM CEO Kyung-bae Kim said that HMM was the first shipping company in South Korea to recycle waste generated from mooring ropes.

A similar project was launched by Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Wilhelmsen Ships Service last year which aims to collect 10,000 tons of ropes annually and recycle them into new ropes or other fiber products.

The shipping company added that it has also been recycling waste PET bottles generated from ships since last year and is actively participating in the Incheon Port Resource Circulation Economy Project.

The project is being announced on the back of HMM’s recent order of nine methanol-fuelled containerships.

 The move is being pursued as part of the shipping major’s future growth strategy, which has earmarked $11.3 billion for future investments. These include the expansion of eco-friendly ships from the current 820,000 TEU to 1.2 million TEU by 2026.

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The order forms part of HMM’s objective of reaching net-zero carbon emissions across its fleet by 2050. To achieve the target, the company is looking into a range of sustainable energy sources, including methanol, LNG, hydrogen, and green ammonia.