Elbe River Dredging Urgently Needed
The Port of Hamburg is the German economy’s Gateway to the World. Along with the other German seaports, it plays an essential role for seaborne foreign trade as an interface between land and sea transport.
Its excellent accessibility by water and overland is crucial for the operation of worldwide transport chains. Consequently the Port of Hamburg, Germany’s largest overseas port, has emerged as a high-performance logistics hub for handling worldwide cargo flows.
“When the new Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan is agreed this year, the forecast growth in freight traffic makes it essential that maintenance and expansion of routes to the seaports is given top priority,” demands Ingo Egloff of Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Executive Board.
To ensure accessibility from the north sea, a decision by the courts on the implementation of the widening and deepening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe is urgently needed this year. “Along with international shipping companies and port customers, we have already waited far too long for the start of dredging,” said Egloff.
The urgency of the situation meanwhile is shown by the fact that in 2014 ultra large containerships made 507 calls in Hamburg. “So we had around 24 percent more calls by containerships with slot capacities of over 10,000 TEU than in the previous year. Even the most obstinate opponents of modification of the channel must slowly recognize that to re-route such a large number of ocean-going ships to other ports would be by no means simple. Not to speak of the appalling environmental consequences of shifting cargo traffic from ocean-going ships on to hundreds of trucks,” stressed Egloff.
A rise of over 50 percent in seaport-hinterland traffic will decisively shape the growth in total freight traffic forecast for Germany in the years to come. Against this background, in Egloff’s view transport routes to the seaports must rate top priority in the new Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan.