Hapag-Lloyd Highlights Importance of Elbe Deepening

Image source: DEME Group

German container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd is calling for more leeway and the deepening of the river Elbe which would enable mega boxships to reach the Port of Hamburg.

The Lower Elbe between the Port of Hamburg and the North Sea is supposed to be deepened over a distance of approximately 120 kilometers. The goal is to make it easier for the new generation of container ships to reach the city, said Hapag-Lloyd.

“Besides deepening, it’s also about widening the fairway. These measures would make it easier for the new ships to get into and back out of the port,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG.

This means that more containers could be brought to the city, which in turn would shorten waiting times and lower costs, he added.

Why is it necessary to deepen the Elbe?

These days, some of the vessels being built have slots for 20,000 containers and measure 400 meters long and more than 60 meters wide.

They should have an opportunity to be able to call at Hamburg – Germany’s largest port and an important job engine for the country’s economy – with a draft of 13.5 meters and, at high tide, with a draft of 14.5 meters, Hapag-Lloyd said.

To also be able to guarantee the ships’ safety even in rough waters, the fairway must be dredged to some 19 meters beneath sea level.