Elbe Deepening Can Finally Start

Hamburg PortIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The Port of Hamburg will soon be able to welcome 20,000+ TEU containerships as the plan to dredge the river Elbe has finally received the green light from German authorities.

Specifically, the planning procedure for fairway adjustment on the Outer and Lower Elbe has been completed with the supplementary planning approval, the Port of Hamburg said.

Last year, the country’s Federal Administrative Court approved in principle the plan stating that it needed to be revised due to “the violation of the habitat protection law.”

The legal preliminaries are now in place that will enable construction to start.

“This is very good news for our trading and shipping customers worldwide and for the whole Hamburg Metropolitan Region,” Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, said.

“We have waited a long time for today and are now hoping for rapid implementation,” Ingo Egloff, Mattern’s Executive Board colleague, added.

The port is already megaship-ready and can handle the largest containerships with a slot capacity of over 20,000 TEU, as well as other mega-vessels. Suitable berths and terminal equipment make that possible.

Irrespective of the tide, after the fairway adjustment, ocean-going ships will be able to leave Hamburg with a draft of 13.5 meters and using flood tide with a draft of 14.5 meters.

For shipping, the fairway adjustment will provide one extra meter of draft and the related decisive advantages. Containerships will be able to transport around 1,800 more containers (TEU) per call. The ‘passing box’ downstream from Hamburg will make the Elbe navigable for mega-ships in both directions without the existing restrictions.

With around 9,000 ship calls per year, Hamburg is Germany’s largest universal port and the third biggest container port in Europe.

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