Hamburg Unveils 1st Phase of Elbe Expansion
Port of Hamburg announced that mega-ships will from now on find it easy to pass through the Elbe fairway.
Vessels with a combined width of up to 98 meters can now pass each other in a widened section of the Elbe in Germany known as the “passing box.” The five-kilometer stretch now has a width of 385 meters, said the Port of Hamburg.
“With the initial fairway widenings of the Elbe, meanwhile completed, we are on a good course, immediately improving the conditions for calls by mega-ships,” said Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. “For shipping and our port customers, this is really gratifying news for the start of the year.”
The holding area at Brunsbüttel has also been completed. This has been available as anchorage since the end of last year – when allocated by the traffic control center. This offers ships dependent on the tide, and unable to make the tide ‘window’ for currently unforeseeable reasons, the opportunity of waiting during the new low water phase. The holding area forms an essential element of the safety concept.
Andreas Scheuer, German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, said: “We started dredging operations on the Lower and Outer Elbe at the end of July. In our section, the work on widening has now been completed."
Andreas added: "As soon as the work in the up-river section of the passing stretch through Hamburg has been completed, the combined width of ships passing can be raised. For shipping, this boosts flexibility, efficiency, capacity and safety. Because more and also larger vessels can call and depart simultaneously, the number of mega-containerships can then be more than doubled to 2,800 containerships per year.”
Prof. Dr.-lng. Hans-Heinrich Witte, President of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration – WSV – commented: “With these widenings, shipping on the Elbe will for the first time profit from the fairway adjustment. That is good for waterway capacity, traffic flow and safety."
Currently, work is in progress on deepening the entire stretch. Both ships dependent on the tide, and those that are not, will gain from one extra meter of loaded draft. The works will be completed next year.