Adjustment of the Elbe Fairway Essential for Hamburg

Despite the qualified planning approval granted in 2012 and the February 2017 decision of the Federal Administrative Court, the Port of Hamburg is still waiting for work to begin on the dredging of the Elbe River.

Adjustment of the fairway is essential for Hamburg and should at last be put into effect. Higher draft and improved opportunities for passing on the Elbe will offer increased safety and flexibility for traffic control on the Elbe, also producing tremendous advantages for merchant shipping,” said Ingo Egloff, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing at the quarterly press conference.

The Elbe is Germany’s most significant waterway. A crucial stretch is the 130 kilometers between Hamburg and the mouth of the North Sea near Cuxhaven. The river has been deepened eight times since 1818.

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.

According to Ingo Egloff, mega-containerships will be able to bring/take away an additional 1,600 and more containers (TEU) per call to/from Hamburg.

For CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, it is not acceptable that vital infrastructure projects like the adjustment of the fairway on the Lower and Outer Elbe should be blocked by objections from environmental pressure groups and others.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for us to explain to the port’s international customers how we are still having to wait for implementation of fairway dredging despite the qualified planning approval granted in 2012 and the February 2017 decision of the Federal Administrative Court,” added Egloff.

The fact that the bodies objecting also seemingly continue to pursue the aim of a final rejection of the dredging of the fairway also deserves criticism. In doing so, they wholly ignore the damage to the national economy caused by a blockade that has already lasted years and the additional adverse economic effects on the further development of the port and the jobs involved,” commented Egloff.

The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest universal port, underpinning more than 155,000 jobs in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The port is also an important location for industry, of great significance for the entire German national economy, with annual gross value added of 21.8 billion euros.