Fairway expansion at Port of Hamburg will increase trade

An expansion project to Germany’s largest port at Hamburg will ease congestion and increase the number of larger ships able to enter the port.

The Port of Hamburg contains over 75 terminals, handling over 18,000 ocean-going and inland waterway ships per year. For the River Elbe and port pilots, the 65% increase in the number of extraordinarily large vessels (AGFs) represents a challenge. AGFs (vessels over 330 metres long and over 45 metres wide) are subject to numerous restrictions, such as what times they can traverse along the 120-kilometre stretch of the River Elbe between the estuary and the boundary of the Port of Hamburg so that their hulls will fit.

Port Captain Jörg Pollmann said with the growing number of traffic situations requiring regulation, maximum safety can only be achieved through proactive movement control co-ordinated with all traffic participants. For Pollmann, owing to the increasing digitisation of port traffic control, a ‘Port Traffic Center’ will ultimately ensure data flow and intelligent networking of all carriers and traffic flows, while allowing for infrastructure and logistics procedures.

As part of the fairway adjustment of the Lower and Outer Elbe, the fairway between Störbogen and Wedel will be widened by 20 metres, creating extra capacity for ultra-large vessels and simpler traffic control for traffic arriving and departing at the port. A passing box, 7km long and 385 metres wide, between Wedel and Wittenbergen will bring an end to the ‘one-way traffic’ for ships with a combined width of more than 90 metres. Arithmetic suggests that 2,800 ultra-large ships could then reach the Port of Hamburg – more than twice as many as at present.

To be prepared for further developments in ship sizes, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and the pilots are working together with shipping companies on simulation studies, for example to research the manoeuvring capacities for 23,000-TEU containerships.

Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, Axel Mattern said: “It is essential that the fairway adjustment is now speedily implemented, so that shipping and port customers can quickly see the simplified accessibility of the Port of Hamburg achieved.”

Work on the fairway is anticipated to be complete in summer 2021.

Related content

Leave a reply

Tea & Coffee Trade Journal