Photo: Port of Hamburg
The third supplementary planning procedure for fairway adjustment on the Outer and Lower Elbe has been completed.
The extra procedure was requested by the Federal Administrative Court and was mainly concerned with the Billwerder Island Tidal Connection project. Specifically, the Court saw the need for an additional coherence protection measure in line with the European conservation law for a unique type of plant, the hemlock water dropwort.
Following the resolution, the legal preliminaries are now in place, enabling the construction works to start. However, the Port of Hamburg's press release reads, the Court's decision can still be challenged; this would require attempting to lodge an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court.
Nevertheless, the Port of Hamburg, together with the City and State of Hamburg are looking forward to adjusting the Elbe River to meet the needs of modern container shipping. Axel Mattern and Ingo Egloff, Joint CEOs, the Port of Hamburg Marketing, said, "This is very good news for our trading and shipping customers worldwide and for the whole Hamburg Metropolitan Region. We have waited a long time for today and are now hoping for rapid implementation."
Thanks to the fairway adjustment, ocean-going ships will be able to leave Hamburg with a draft of 13.5 m irrespective of the tide, and one metre more using the flood tide. As such, container ships will be able to transport around 1,800 more TEUs. The 'passing box' downstream from Hamburg will make the Elbe navigable for mega ships in both directions without the existing restrictions.
Dr. Peter Tschentscher, First Mayor of Hamburg, also commented, "For Germany's foreign trade, the Port of Hamburg is its gateway to the world. It is an important hub for global goods flows and contributes greatly to Hamburg's economic strength. With today's supplementary planning decision, we have full legal planning approval for the adjustment of the fairway that will make the Port of Hamburg considerably more competitive internationally."
"Since February 2017, we have worked intensively on eliminating the Court's final reservations. The results of this work are to be found in the resolution issued today. We now have planning permission: We will begin with explosive ordnance and preliminary construction measures in the next few days. All tendering has already been completed. The partner companies can be engaged to start work immediately," Senator Frank Horch summed up.