The Port of Hamburg has improved port access by increasing channel depth and installing passing areas on the river Elbe.

Draft increases for inbound and outbound traffic range from 1.0 to 1.09 metres, according to the port. The improvements allow for vessels of up to 62.5 metres wide and 400 metres long with a draft of up to 13.10 metres to move about the port regardless of the tide. Prior to the improvements, the limit was 11.40 metres.

Favourable tides will allow for vessels to enter the port with drafts up to 15.40 metres and leave with drafts up to 14.10 metres. That translates to around an additional 2,450 teu for megamax container vessels, said the port.

The port said it had also installed a passing area near Wedel and widened the channel between Wedel and the Stör estuary to improve and simplify passing.

Beyond increasing the range of vessels that can call at Hamburg, the dredging and other works will lead to better turnaround times, better traffic co-ordination and planning and the potential to reduce emissions per unit of cargo through economies of scale and just-in-time arrival, the port claimed.

“Last year 2,377 containerships called 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,” says Jens Meier, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA).

Axel Mattern joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing said: “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.”

Professor Dr.-Ing. Hans-Heinrich Witte, President of the Federal Waterways and Shipping administration, underlines the advantages of the new fairway: “With the final release, shipping now has distinctly greater draft at its disposal. Apart from the navigational advantages, the greater depths provide both economic and ecological added value. Greater depth means improved utilization of vessels and leads to lower emissions per ton transported.”

Source: Seatrade Maritime News