Port of Hamburg completes Elbe expansion for larger ships

Port of Hamburg | HPA

The Port of Hamburg has completed its fairway adjustment of the lower and outer Elbe, providing better accessibility to larger vessels.

The second stage of the project was completed on 24 January 2022.

Depending on the tide, even greater drafts are now possible. Inbound and outbound shipping now gains from a draft increase of between 1 and 1.9 metres.

Irrespective of the tide, Megamax vessels with a width of up to 62.59 metres and a length of 400 metres can now move about the port with a draft of up to 14.10 metres, before the adjustment this was only 11.40 metres.

Furthermore, for ships entering the port, a favourable tide makes 15.40 metres feasible, compares to the previous 13.60 metres.

“We are delighted that following years of intensive planning, completion of the mag-project ‘fairway adjustment’ has been accomplished. Above all we would like to express our thanks to our partners and customers, who during many personal discussions have again and again reiterated their faith in the Port of Hamburg,” said Jens Meier, CEO of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA).

“Statistics already show good market acceptance for the first release of the fairway adjustment. Last year 2,377 containerships called at the Port of Hamburg between May and December. Of these 666 had a design draft of over 13.80 metres and 96 of them had a draft that would not have been acceptable prior to the release of the fairway adjustment. With the final release, we are anticipating further increases.”

The completion of this work also marks a large milestone for shipping traffic in Hamburg.

Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Minister of Economics, added: “For Germany’s largest port, it means improved access conditions that will enable shipping companies to bring more cargo to Hamburg.”

Axel Mattern, Co-CEO for the Port of Hamburg Marketing, also welcomed the adjustment of the Elbe fairway, commenting: “For shipping and our port customers from trade & industry, simplifications in the accessibility of Germany’s largest universal port also facilitate the advantage of routing more cargo via Hamburg.

“On land, environment-friendly rail is the main supplier of freight transport, linking inland market regions with the port swiftly and reliably. With high-performance routes, smart logistics solutions and growing use of low-emission energy sources and technology, we are on course for sustained growth.”

Planning through the HPA’s Nautical Control Centre, alongside the federal district control centres, and in coordination with the Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC) ensures that potential conflict situations on the Elbe are identified at an early stage.

On top of this, the “just-in-time” arrival of vessels also makes it possible to save large quantities of fuel and therefore reduce emissions.

“Together, with the HPA’s Nautical Control Centre, the HVCC, and the federal government’s district control centres, we will be able to make the traffic flow regulation from the North Sea to the berth even more flexible and thus further optimise it after the final fairway adjustment,” said the HPA in a statement.

In other news, the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) recently granted the HPA and DAKOSY Datenkommunikationssystem AG €15 million ($17 million) to construct a digital test bed at the Port of Hamburg.

The investment seeks to fund the Services and Data Network Port of Hamburg (SANTANA), a 30-month-long project which aims to develop infrastructure intended to link privately organised logistics, public infrastructure, and traffic management closer.

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