Next Step: From Sea to Shelf

Recycling of mooring
lines in the MAERSK fleet

Funded by

This project aims to develop a value chain for collecting and recycling mooring lines from Maersk – the largest container ship fleet in the world. 

Currently, thousands of tonnes of used hawsers are disposed of globally each year. 


Ships in sea


Currently, mooring lines are subject to a recurring certification process to test and certify their strength, durability etc. As the certification process is cumbersome and entails larger costs than the purchase of new equipment, used mooring lines are as a main rule discarded at the place where the vessel may be anchored at the time of disposal and new mooring lines are purchased. This means that annually thousands of tonnes of used hawsers are disposed of globally.

The disposed mooring lines may enter second-hand markets and be reused locally but will eventually end up as non-traceable and non-recyclable waste – and in many cases in the ocean.

Project description

To obtain economies of scale in the value chain, the project is looking into the possibility of collecting used mooring lines from the MAERSK fleet at one central location in Europe.

To recycle the collected mooring lines, efforts have simultaneously been undertaken to develop methods to separate the different types of plastic that the mooring lines consist of. The mooring lines are currently made of a mix of PP and PET fibres which are difficult to separate.

Tests of existing hawsers and the development of methods to separate and sort the different types of plastic from the hawsers/mooring lines will be conducted by Danish companies Plastix and Trebo.

Moored Maersk vessel


Currently, the project engages the following partners and members:

  • MAERSK Procurement
  • DTU Environment
  • Trebo


    The project is currently only focusing on used hawsers from the MAERSK fleet. At a later stage, it is the intention that the project – should it succeed in providing satisfactory technical and organizational solutions – is to be extended to include other shipping companies and other relevant actors from the maritime sector. The project aims to generate a technological breakthrough that enables a sustainable closed-loop for mooring lines that can create a new standard for the shipping industry.


    Do you or your company want to contribute to this project? Do not hesitate to contact us.

    Funded by the Danish Industry Foundation
    (Industriens Fond)

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