German Federal Administrative Court has decided to postpone decision on expansion of Elbe river that would allow the port of Hamburg to welcome bigger ships.
Port of Hamburg Marketing Executive Board Members Axel Mattern and Ingo Egloff issued the following statements on the ocassion:
“We respect the decision announced today by the Federal Administrative Court (FAC) in Leipzig on the deepening and widening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe.
A final decision can only be taken when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has clarified questions still outstanding on the so-called prohibition of deterioration and desirability of improvement embodied in the European Water Framework Directive. These questions will be resolved by spring 2015 in connection with complaints against a deepening of the River Weser.
The FAC also emphasized, however, that while the environmental compatibility assessments in respect of the fauna/flora done for the planning approval for the deepening of the navigation channel of the Lower and Outer Elbe exhibit various shortcomings, in its opinion these can be overcome and should not lead to a lifting of the said approval.
We regret that once again time will be lost and that no decisive relaxation of the restrictions of ship draft and breadth currently in force can yet be implemented.
More than ten years of planning and authorization procedures have been a difficult time for the port’s customers, shipping companies and firms operating in the port.
The primary objective remains the rapid and carefully implementation of expansion measures. With seaborne cargo throughput of more than 140 million tons and annual container handling of over 9,000,000 TEU, Hamburg is the Northern European hub optimally located for handling worldwide cargo flows and transport chains in seaborne foreign trade.
Against the background of an increasing number of calls by mega-ships, access from the sea via the Elbe is of vital importance for the Port of Hamburg and the companies based there and in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. More than 150,000 jobs are linked with the port. Distinctly improved accessibility is also urgently needed for all those industrial and trading concerns engaged in worldwide foreign trade that use Germany’s largest universal port for their exports and imports.”