Port of Hamburg Marketing opens representative office in North Rhine-Westphalia
With the opening of a representative office in North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the second most important region of the German market for Hamburg, the Port of Hamburg’s internationally active marketing organisation is making a point. From 18 July, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Representative Office (West) will be located in Dortmunder Hafen AG’s head office. This on-the-spot presence will enable Port of Hamburg Marketing to cover the NRW region even more promptly and intensively. Heading the new representative office will be Volker Hahn, who has until now looked after the region from Hamburg.
At the opening of the new representative office, Volker Hahn together with the Port of Hamburg Executive Board Members Axel Mattern and Ingo Egloff thanked Uwe Büscher, Chairman of the Port of Dortmund, for its excellent cooperation and support. “With its proximity to the economically active regions of East Westphalia, Münsterland, South Westphalia, the Dortmund area and the rest of North Rhine-Westphalia, the new location of our port’s representative office in the headquarters of our member, the Port of Dortmund, represents the optimal choice,” said Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing at the opening of the office. “Opening of a port representative office in NRW is the right move and a clear signal of the Port of Hamburg’s wish to reinforce and extend its presence in NRW. As Gateway to the World, Hamburg with its liner services offers importers and exporters in NRW the finest transport connections to all parts of the globe,” continued Mattern. Büscher added: “I am delighted about the Port of Hamburg’s Representative Office. This serves as a practical example of the desired intensification of cooperation between German seaports and inland ports.”
For Hamburg as Germany’s largest universal port, the state of North Rhine Westphalia with its industry being such a notable exporter is of immense importance on both the import and export sides. With around 500,000 TEU (20-ft standard containers), NRW ranks second after Bavaria for Hamburg’s container hinterland traffic.
For inbound and outbound rail traffic, Europe’s largest rail port offers rapid and high-performance transport links to and from NRW. “For NRW, Hamburg is a fine alternative to the competing ports situated farther west that rely mainly on truck and inland waterway craft transport. In addition, as part of our marketing and information work we champion transport solutions that wherever possible preferably shift container shipments from the roads to more environmentally friendly rail. For cargoes and heavy project shipments, where time is a less critical factor, this also increasingly applies to inland waterway shipping,” continued Axel Mattern.
Especially against the background of the new terminal for multimodal transport to be completed in Dortmund by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016, Port of Hamburg Marketing and the Port of Dortmund anticipate an increase of railborne cargo shipments between the ports of Hamburg and Dortmund. The new facility for multimodal traffic could also lead to an expansion of railborne traffic between the ports of Hamburg and Dortmund, HHM and the Port of Dortmund anticipate. An expansion of container train links between Dortmund and Hamburg will also mean that even more export and import cargo can move between NRW and Germany’s largest universal port without hitting traffic jams en route.
Port of Hamburg Marketing – Representative Office (West)
Head of the Representative Office: Volker Hahn
Tel.: +49 231 9839 9695
The ZIM Hamburg reinforces Israel Express via Hamburg
The North Europe Service 1 (NE-1) run by shipowners ZIM Integrated Shipping Services and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is the most important liner service linking Hamburg weekly with Israel via the Mediterranean. Transport volumes have grown continuously since 2007, in all by around 21 percent. In 2013 around 62,000 TEU (20-ft standard containers) were transported on seaborne container services along this route.
ZIM had already extended and restructured the NE-1 service at the beginning of 2013 in reaction to rising quantities and market requirements. Being deployed for the first time in the liner service from July onwards, the ZIM Hamburg will provide greater transport capacities and a larger number of reefer container connections. The vessel is replacing a smaller one previously operating on this service. The ZIM Hamburg berthed for the first time at Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg (CTH) on 7 July. From there she will regularly be making the round voyage to Antwerp, Le Havre, Ashdod, Alexandria, Haifa, Ashdod, Valencia, Felixstowe, Rotterdam and back again to Hamburg. The main cargoes shipped via Hamburg will be food and beverages, chemical products and machinery and equipment. From Israel come chemical products, food and beverages, and products of agriculture, forestry, hunting, forestry and fisheries.
The ZIM Hamburg has a slot capacity of 6,350 TEU, including 500 for reefer containers. The ship was built in Japan, being delivered in May, 2009, and is 293 m long, with a beam of 40m and a draft fully laden of 14m. “With the introduction of this new and larger ship we have adapted NE-1 to market requirements in respect of slot capacity and increased availability of reefer container connections. In addition, we are delighted to have a ship on this service that as the ZIM Hamburg bears the name not only of our shipping company, but also of what for us is the most important port in Northern Europe. That well expresses our alliance with Hamburg as a seaport,” stressed Norbert Trapp, Managing Director of ZIM Germany GmbH.
The company marked the introduction of the ZIM Hamburg on its North Europe Service 1 and her first call in Hamburg by inviting its business partners to an official reception on board. From the Hamburg side, Andreas Brummermann, Hamburg’s Deputy Port Captain, and Ingo Egloff, Executive Board Member of Port of Hamburg Marketing, were there to welcome the ship and her crew. As a token of friendship, Andreas Brummermann presented Valentin Deliu, the captain of the ZIM Hamburg, with the Port of Hamburg’s admiralty plaque.
Cruise Port Hamburg on the move
Norwegian Cruise Line is sending its newest ship Norwegian Escape to Hamburg. TUI Cruises just christened its newest ship Mein Schiff 3 in Hamburg and last Friday, the Azamara Journey visited the port for the first time.
The latest news for the cruise port Hamburg is spectacular: The new vessel Norwegian Escape”will visit Hamburg on 23 October 2015 during its debut celebrations.
In October 2015 Norwegian Cruise Line will be celebrating a premiere in Hamburg: Its new vessel Norwegian Escape, visiting the city on 23 October 2015, will be the largest cruise ship to date to be welcomed in Hamburg. The new vessel will be making its public debut in the city – first during a 2-night cruise for the travel industry and, following this, a 2-night cruise for end consumers taking the ship from Hamburg to Southampton. The Freestyle Cruising resort, with a capacity for 4,200 passengers, is currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be the largest member of the line’s fleet when launched in autumn 2015.
“The European market has played an important role for Norwegian Cruise Line for years now, with Germany in particular one of our key source markets. Our choice of Hamburg as the venue for the Continental European premiere celebrations for a new vessel for the first time clearly illustrates our commitment to the German market, demonstrating the potential we see here for Norwegian Cruise Line in the coming years,” says Jürgen Stille, Director Business Development Continental Europe at Norwegian Cruise Line. “We await the maiden call of our spectacular new vessel in Hamburg with great excitement.”
“We look forward to welcoming Norwegian Cruise Line to Hamburg when the Norwegian Escape calls in autumn 2015 and will depart from here to her first cruise. Norwegian’s prize-winning Freestyle Cruising concept and the international mix of guests on board are of continuously increasing interest for the booming German market. The presentation of the new vessel on the River Elbe, the cruise industry’s red carpet, is the perfect choice of venue,” says Gerd Drossel, Managing Director of Hamburg Cruise Center.
Hamburg has just once more proven itself being the stage for cruise events. June 12, Germany’s most successful recording artist, Helene Fischer, officially christened the Mein Schiff 3 in Hamburg’s HafenCity district. The glamorous naming ceremony, held under the motto ‘Diamond meets pearl’, took place on the pier of the Hamburg Cruise Center and was attended by some 1,700 invited guests from politics, business and society as well as numerous spectators.
The highlight of the afternoon’s naming ceremony was the special appearance by Helene Fischer. The singer floated up to the ship on a giant, pearl-like balloon to smash the obligatory bottle of champagne on the ship’s bows for the actual christening ceremony, to the enthusiastic applause of the crowd. In the evening, the exclusive concert from Helene Fischer was visited by over ten thousand fans and was joined by the ship alongside the river Elbe.
Last Friday, June 13, the Azamara Journey, called the Port of Hamburg for the first time and was traditionally welcomed by water fountains and a singing Hanseatic choir at the terminal. On this occasion, the symbolic presentation of the Hamburg admiralty plaque to the captain of the ship Johannes Tysse was undertaken by harbour captain Jörg Pollmann and the ship’s agent Simone Maraschi from Sartori & Berger.
Allocation of funds for the widening of the Kiel Canal also boosts the Port of Hamburg’s competitiveness
At the beginning of June the Budgetary Committee of the German Federal Parliament allocated EUR 265 million for the widening of the Eastern section of the Kiel Canal. In April, the committee had already approved EUR 485 million for construction of a fifth lock in Brunsbüttel.
To speed up the remaining planning and tendering for the widening, the first EUR 5 million should be released this year. The Parliament has committed itself to an additional EUR 260 million by 2019. In addition, 35 new posts for technical and legal staff in the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration have been authorised.
Building permission for the 20km eastern section of the Kiel Canal has been available since March 2014. In this section the canal should be widened from 44 to 70m by the end of this year.
“The overhaul of the Kiel Canal is not just a matter of survival for our colleagues in the ports of Brunsbüttel, Hochdonn, Hohenhörn, Rendsburg and Kiel situated directly on the canal. Its expansion is also of immense importance for the development and competitiveness of the entire German economy and industry – and hence also for the Port of Hamburg. We are therefore especially delighted about the good news from the Lower House,” stressed Axel Mattern, Executive Board Member of Port of Hamburg Marketing. More than 130 feeder links per week use the Kiel Canal as the fastest and most ecological sea connection between Hamburg and the Baltic region. Last year around 2 million TEU were transported on this route. “The advantage of the canal is immense. Between Hamburg and Gdansk, feederships save half the distance if they take the short cut through the canal and do not sail around Skagen in Denmark,” added Mattern. In 2013 a total of 31,097 vessels with 94.8 million tons of cargo passed through the Kiel Canal.
Frigo Coldstore Logistics opens a third cold store in the Port of Hamburg
With an inauguration ceremony Frigo Coldstore Logistics opened a third cold store in the Port of Hamburg on 13 May 2014. When the building is completed in August 2014 the company will offer a total cool capacity of 40,000 pallet positions on 18,000m2. The extension was necessary due to the continuous increase in customer demand for deep freeze capacity. The storage extension will also provide extra office space and 12 new jobs at Frigo, the number of staff at present is 38 including four vocational trainees and will probably rise to 50.
In 2005 Frigo began business in their present location in Altenwerder, Hamburg with a completely new deep freeze storage concept in two temperature zones and the accompanying office building. Already in 2008 they had to increase capacity. From the very beginning great value was put on implementing as high as possible energy efficiency and utilising all cutting-edge alternatives to save energy, from insulation to cooling technology. Part of the electricity is generated by their own solar arrays on the warehouse roof, which will possibly in future be used directly in the cold storage system. In the new third building phase the benchmark for an especially energy efficient building should be undercut once again by 20 percent; using intelligent LED lighting activated on demand by a motion control system and especially efficient space-saving concept facilitating stacking up to eight levels.
The incoming deep-frozen food will be handled on 20 loading ramps, later there will be 30. The ramps are cooled to five degrees guaranteeing a continuous cold chain. The new building will increase the picking area facilitating optimal compilation of goods for customer orders.
For many years the per capita consumption of frozen food has risen continuously and with it the challenge to provide enough storage space. The Port of Hamburg figures underline this trend clearly. 618,000 TEU refrigerated containers were handled there in 2013. This represents 6.74 million tons, a growth of 15.2 percent on the previous year. 3.26 million tons of this were imports. The major countries of origin being the Far-East, the east and west coast of South America, the rest of Asia, the South Seas and Indonesia as well as Norway.
The foodstuffs imported by Frigo customers come into the Port of Hamburg from all over the world, and are transferred directly into cold storage, e.g. meat from South America, fish from Canada and vegetables from China. The storage temperature for most of the foodstuffs is minus 18 degrees centigrade. Customers from the whole of Europe can call up their goods on demand and they will be delivered for further processing or to the retailer by refrigeratedtrucks.
The current deepfreeze storage capacity at Frigo is around 15,000 tons. That represents approximately 75 million ready-made meals.
High-volume and heavy-load shipments
The operational parameters for the high-volume and heavy goods shipments into the Port of Hamburg, generating such significant added value, are in need of sustained improvement through efficient infrastructure and lean authorization procedures. Such is the call from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, der Unternehmensverband Hafen Hamburg (UVHH), Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) and der Verband Straßengüterverkehr und Logistik Hamburg (VSH). “Three out of four machines manufactured in Germany go for export, and it is therefore essential to secure the access to main traffic routes and overseas ports,” stated Fritz Horst Melsheimer, President of the Chamber of Commerce.
VSH chairman Thomas Usinger appealed to the authorities to devote more attention to the load capacity of roads and bridges: “If we are to be capable of acting immediately, timely shipments necessitate the regular conduct at short intervals of static calculations regarding loads transported. Otherwise we shall face a situation as with Argentinienbrücke on the main route through the port.” Static calculations of have shown that the bridge is no longer up to handling today’s loads, so that restrictions affecting heavy goods traffic have had to be imposed.
The universal port of Hamburg with its multipurpose terminals is of great importance for the transhipment of conventional general cargoes, emphasised the four commercial bodies. In the Metropolitan Region around 18,000 jobs depend on this segment. Transport of oversize and especially heavy loads is constantly becoming more difficult on account of the limited load capacity of many bridges. Chamber President Melsheimer continued: “Since these cargoes – machine and plant elements, for instance – are of immense importance for the Port Hamburg, any restrictions on bridge structures make a direct impact on port throughput.” Should no sustained improvement in the situation occur, warned Melsheimer, there was a risk that the project cargo of such importance for Hamburg would in future be loaded at competing ports. The UVHH also therefore appealed to central government and the federal states to put these bridges that are so vital for cargo transport in order as rapidly as possible.
UVHH, HHM, VSH and the Chamber of Commerce have joined representatives of the Hamburg administration in setting up a “Round Table” covering the transport of high-volume and heavy cargoes. This is designed to promote a regular exchange of experience and to lead to improvements. Business representatives had beforehand submitted an account of the situation and recommendations for action.
Unique Information Platform for the Port of Hamburg
PRISE, the Port River Information System Elbe, will soon be officially launched following a 1-year trial. The new IT platform will bring together all information on ship arrivals and departures from all of the parties involved in the handling process: the terminals, pilots, shipping companies/brokers, tugs and mooring people as well as the Harbour Master Authority. At the Port of Hamburg and on the Elbe, an increasing number of ever-larger ships require handling within narrow time frames. A more rapid flow of information between all of the involved parties is essential in order to cope with the growing level of complexity for planning and execution. PRISE will improve plannability of proceeding up the estuary of the river Elbe as well as of shipping movements at the port and thus accelerate the flow of traffic.
The development of PRISE was coordinated by the Hamburg software firm and port community system Dakosy together with Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), Eurogate, the Elbe Pilots Association, the Port of Hamburg Pilots Association and Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). The platform was initiated and financed by the two terminal operators, HHLA and Eurogate. “Everyone involved benefits from the transparent flow of information. PRISE provides greater efficiency for our management of the sequencing and arrival of container mega-ships. Our customers and also the port as a whole benefit from this,” says Heinrich Goller, Managing Director of HHLA Container Terminals, underlining HHLA’s commitment to the new platform. Peter Zielinski, Managing Director of Eurogate’s Container Terminal Hamburg also praises PRISE: “This central information platform enables us to plan ahead further into the future, react more rapidly to changes at short notice and make more efficient use of our resources.” Hamburg’s Senator for Economy, Frank Horch, is also very interested in PRISE: “The Port of Hamburg is dependent on innovative IT systems such as PRISE if it is to maintain and consolidate its competitive position as a global port. PRISE improves the flow of traffic at the port and on the river Elbe and will enable faster and smoother handling of ships, particularly container mega-ships.”
PRISE is specially designed for the requirements of the Port of Hamburg. The data compiled by this information platform includes berth planning and registration at the terminals, status information regarding ships’ positions on the river Elbe – from the German Bight up until their mooring lines have been fastened – ship notifications from the Elbe pilots, job assignments for tugs and mooring people and water level forecasts from the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).
According to Harbour Master Jörg Pollmann the platform is already playing a significant role at HPA, which coordinates berth registrations for all of the terminals at the Port of Hamburg: “PRISE enables transparency throughout the port and always offers the latest information on all shipping movements. PRISE is an important unique selling point for us. No other port in the world has a platform of this kind.”
Dieter Spark, Chief Executive Officer of Dakosy, is delighted with the positive response which PRISE has met during its trial: “As a port community system for the Port of Hamburg, for over 30 years we have offered innovative electronic platforms for port economy, enabling optimisation and acceleration of import and export processes. PRISE optimally rounds off our portfolio. We are particularly impressed by the fact that this platform is already well-known far afield from Hamburg.”
First Container Liner Service Between Hamburg & the Black Sea
The French shipping company CMA CGM is expanding its range of liner services from Hamburg and including Black Sea ports in its schedule for the first time.
Today, the CMA CGM Lavender sails on the extended Femex 1 Northern Europe-Mediterranean full container service from HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai in Hamburg. Passing through the Bosphorus, for the first time she will also be calling at the Black Sea ports of Samsun (Turkey), Novorossiysk (Russia) and Constanta (Rumania). This makes Femex 1 the only container liner service between Northern Europe and the Black Sea.
Behind the extension of the liner service inaugurated in March 2013 is the increased demand for seaborne transport between Northern Europe and the Black Sea region. Imports and exports via Port of Hamburg for Turkey, focusing heavily on foreign trade, are steadily growing in importance. Based on a current assessment of different countries, Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) is reckoning with 38 percent growth in seaborne container traffic between Hamburg and ports in Turkey, corresponding to around 75,000 TEU (20-ft standard containers). The addition of the Northern Turkish port of Samsun will improve the link between Turkey and Hamburg. The voyage from Hamburg to Samsun takes 19 days, with 22 days needed for the return trip. A total of seven liner services are currently operating between the Port of Hamburg and Turkey, including two multi-purpose/general cargo services. Bulk cargo transport is provided on tramp services when required.
A total of six vessels with slot capacities of around 2,800 TEU are being deployed on Femex 1. A newcomer here is the Camellia, a reinforcement expanding rotation to enable a weekly sailing frequency ex-Hamburg to be maintained. The service links these 19 ports: Hamburg, Antwerp, Southampton, Tangier, Marsaxlokk, Thessaloniki, Gebze, Istanbul-Ambarli (Avcilar), Istanbul-Haydarpasa, Samsun, Novorossisk, Constanta, Istanbul-Ambarli, Gebze, Gemlik, Aliaga, Marsaxlokk, Tangier and Casablanca, returning directly to Hamburg. The round voyage lasts 42 days.
Built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Singapore in 2006, CMA CGM Lavender is 222m long and 30m wide, with a slot capacity of 2,800 TEU. Fully laden, her draft reaches up to 12m.
PORTlog with New Functionalities
Since the launch of the PORTlog logistics platform, Port of Hamburg Marketing has continued to develop PORTlog in order to fine-tune it to the needs of international users. With the addition of new service sectors, company profiles and filtering functions, PORTlog has now become even more customer-friendly.
The PORTlog portal lets international im- and exporters, forwarders as well as representatives from the industry, trade and transport branch quickly locate the right service provider for dealing with their transport, cargo-handling, warehousing and other needs in Hamburg, the metropolitan region and along the entire transport chain.
New service sectors as logistics consultancy, personnel consultancy and training and further education were added to the online platform. Additional maritime service sectors will be added over time. Company profiles provide an even better insight into the range of services offered by the providers. Furthermore, new filtering functions help PORTlog users to make their search for suitable services providers even more detailed and precise. The new dynamic version of PORTlog is also available for mobile terminals.
The PORTlog harbour seagull Peter Pickhuben guides through the programme and provides assistance by means of a glossary of specialist terminology and with step-by-step instructions for users with little or no previous experience in the logistics sector.
More than 140 companies are already registered offering their services through PORTlog in the following languages: German, English, Chinese, Russian, Hungarian, Polish and Czech. Additional language versions, including Portuguese, Spanish, Korean and Japanese, are currently being developed.
Beata Pawłowska, Branch Director of PS Trade Trans GmbH in Gdynia uses PORTlog to find optimal transport and logistics solutions for her business: “The multilingual search engine is an excellent solution, especially for smaller customers wanting to establish new business relationships in Hamburg. The filtering functions make searching very simple and easy to understand, as is the facility for making direct contact with the providers via the enquiry form.”
North German ports Call for Sustained Upgrading & Operational Reliability for the Kiel Canal
In the course of a press panel discussion in Hamburg hosted by Port of Hamburg Marketing, port and business representatives from centres along the Kiel Canal and the Hamburg Port Authority jointly called for the reconstruction without delay of the fifth lock chamber and the renovation of the two existing large lock chambers at Brunsbüttel. In the medium term, business in the port and industry regard the straightening out of the Eastern stretch of the canal and its deepening by one metre as indispensable measures.
Chaired by Port of Hamburg Marketing CEO Axel Mattern, the panel was concerned with the demands on an effective and reliable canal infrastructure, and the economic consequences of its restricted use and accessibility. Jens Broder Knudsen, Chairman of Kiel Canal Initiative, Jens Meier, Chairman of the Executive Board of Hamburg Port Authority, Frank Schnabel, Chairman of the Federation of Schleswig-Holstein Ports, and Rainer Keiemburg, Managing Director of TOTAL Bitumen Deutschland, participated. For Jens Broder Knudsen, it is clear that for handling their growing flows of goods, not just ports on the canal, but others in Northern Germany and our neighbouring countries, depend on having a functioning Kiel Canal that is navigable free of obstacles. Knudsen pointed out that with the assent of all 16 federal states of Germany, the Bodewig Commission had worked out some innovative possibilities for financing infrastructure. By way of special funding and pilot projects, with a broad political consensus a basis had been secured for long-term refinancing of infrastructure funding as a matter of priority. In Knudsen’s view, this will radically simplify the implementation of future infrastructure measures. “The present debate about a ‘Car toll on foreigners’ should not be allowed to further prevent the politically desired topping up of additional funds in the budget. The Kiel Canal is the lifeline that connects German ports on the North Sea with the Baltic. The funding from the special fund to be created for the essential and overdue upgrading works on the Kiel Canal should serve to secure this advantage in routing vis-à-vis the competing ports in the Netherlands and Belgium,” declared Knudsen.
Despite several gaps and restrictions in operation of the canal, in the first half of 2013 a total of 15,940 vessels transited the Kiel Canal, transporting 48.8 million tons of cargo. For Frank Schnabel, the accessibility of the ports lying directly on the Kiel Canal in Brunsbüttel, Hochdonn, Hohenhörn, Kreishafen Rendsburg plus Rendsburg Port, the recently built heavy cargo port, Kiel’s Nordhafen and the Kiel-Holtenau inland waterway port, must be guaranteed in the long term. “If the reliability of the canal, actually the most heavily used canal in the world, cannot be guaranteed due to infrastructural deficiencies, then that will rapidly lead to a switching of transport flows. That will then affect innumerable jobs directly or indirectly attributable to the canal and the sea trades using it,” declared Frank Schnabel, for whom the Kiel Canal is more than just a transit waterway. “The Kiel Canal is just as much a lifeline for industrial firms and businesses along the canal. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are so tightly networked that negative consequences for Hamburg’s port also hit Schleswig-Holstein and its maritime economy directly. We must at all costs prevent the catastrophe of a long-term closure of the Kiel Canal, since otherwise the national economy will suffer grave damage,” warned Schnabel.
Rainer Keiemburg drew attention to the uninterrupted supply and transports of products for industry based on the canal and in the region: “For production facilities such as TOTAL Bitumen, Bayer or the Heide Refinery, any restrictions on operations or closures of the canal entail losses running into millions. Delays or cessations of production cause extra costs and enormous expense for such firms. And these can also very rapidly lead to supply bottlenecks for our customers,” as Keiemburg made clear. For a company like TOTAL Bitumen Deutschland, which can point to a century of success and with its products is also closely linked to infrastructural development, in Keiemburg’s view a functioning Kiel Canal is also a decisive factor in determining whether Brunsbüttel’s development as an industrial base reaches a dead-end or remains on a growth course.
After the replacement investments in the locks and the Levensauer elevated bridge, in the view of the Kiel Canal Initiative the growing sizes and drafts of ships require adjustment of the Eastern stretch of the canal very soon. “This would allow greater feasible draft and hence higher transport capacity. Along with the adaptation and optimization of the canal bends on the Eastern stretch, a deepening by one additional metre to a total of 12 metres is also vital. These measures would shorten passage times for shipping, eliminating waiting times. It is also of crucial importance that the canal control centres should be adequately staffed with engineers and technicians. Without additional staff, the essential complete upgrading of the Kiel Canal will not be assured,” stressed Knudsen.
For Jens Meier, the Kiel Canal represents a crucial geographical advantage for the Port of Hamburg and other German ports on North Sea. From Hamburg to Gdansk, for example the route advantage using the Kiel Canal is 437 nautical miles, compared to the route around Denmark that via Skagen totals 874 nautical miles. “With more than 130 feedership departures per week, around 2 million TEU per year are transported by feeder through the canal in an ecologically friendly manner between Hamburg and the Baltic region. The economic significance of the Kiel Canal therefore extends far beyond North Germany. The upgrading, enlargement and regular maintenance of the Kiel Canal is an urgent necessity,” Jens Meier also emphasized.
Port of Hamburg Marketing CEO Axel Mattern wound up the panel discussion by commenting that as the shortest, fastest and most environmentally friendly sea link with the Baltic region, the Kiel Canal is of immense importance for the wider Hamburg metropolitan region. “In combination with the Elbe and the Port of Hamburg, the Kiel Canal is a traffic system. The preservation and upgrading of the canal as part of Germany’s transport infrastructure is a national obligation and utterly essential for the preservation of the competitiveness of our economy and our ports. After the neglect of infrastructure over recent decades, we expect absolutely clear signals from the incoming new federal government indicating an assured future for the Kiel Canal and the related trade industry and ports,” said Mattern.