In a bid to discuss container handling and automation processes at the Port of Hamburg’s terminals, Thomas Perez, US Secretary of Labor, and Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, as well as representatives at the Port of Los Angeles, visited the Port of Hamburg and the Hamburg Hafen und Logistic AG (HHLA) Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA).
Perez was briefed on the Port of Hamburg’s automation processes and their effects on staff at the terminals, as well as on the regional labour market, where a discussion took place on the restructuring processes in container handling.
Olaf Scholz said: “Hamburg has always gone on the offensive when it comes to confronting structural change, and it is only by doing this that we can survive on the international market in the long term.
“The CTA is a particular example of this: despite the high level of automation, numerous positions for highly qualified staff have been created at CTA.”
Heinrich Goller, Managing Director of Operations at HHLA, said: “The interest expressed by Secretary Perez and his delegation demonstrates that the CTA is regarded around the world as one of the most modern port handling facilities.
“It was particularly important for us to convey the fact that even at such a highly modern facility, traditional manpower remains irreplaceable. At the end of the day, we employ approximately 720 staff members at Altenwerder.”
Jens Meier, Chairman of the Management Board of the Hamburg Port Authority, said: “We are delighted to welcome US Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, and representatives from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Hamburg.
International dialogue with politicians and representatives of other ports is always an opportunity to see things from another perspective and to learn from each other.”
Hamburg is one of the leading ports in the world when it comes to automated port innovation, and the move from the US to send a key figure to review its practices may mean the US is eager to follow suit.
However, on a heavily unionised West Coast, the implementation of automated practices may be difficult to implement for the US.