After years of discussions, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has finally announced its decision on the Elbe River deepening project.
Commenting on the court’s decision for the fairway adjustment of the Lower and Outer Elbe, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority, Jens Meier, yesterday said that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has underlined the necessity for the adjustment of the navigation channel with its decision.
“The navigation adjustments will come, now it is a question of extending the process. We will concentrate on the questions of possible fluctuations of the salinity of the Elbe and habitat protection impact assessment. The requirements of the additional compensation areas are to be taken into account in the planning too,” said Meier.
He also added that the project team responsible will be working at full power, but it is too soon to give a statement on the timeframe required.
According to HPA, in yesterday’s judgement the Federal Administrative Court stated clearly that the whole planning procedure has no deficiencies and the objections from the environmental organisations concerning the water engineering measures cannot be upheld. The European Water Framework Directive has been adhered to. Only protection of the plant species, hemlock water dropwort and the substitute areas must be improved, before the measures can be implemented.
“This makes it clear that the adjustment will happen, but we regret the repeated time delay in implementing the measure. Important is that for shipping on the Elbe and operations in the Port of Hamburg nothing will change. Up to now, we have been able to handle the largest containerships; this will be so in the future too. There will be no deterioration,” says Ingo Egloff, joint CEO Port of Hamburg Marketing.
The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest universal port, providing more than 156,000 jobs in the greater Hamburg region. The port is also an important industrial location with a gross value-added of 21.8 billion euros for the whole of the German economy. For the city of Hamburg around 900 million euros in tax revenue is generated in the port.
Dredging the Elbe River 38-mile navigation channel to the North Sea will enable Europe’s third-largest container hub to handle the ships with a maximum draft of 14.5 meters – entering the port at high tide – and vessels up to 13.5 meters regardless of the tide.