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Federal Minister Scheuer in Hamburg

Source: BMVI

Today marks the beginning of something industry and the shipping community have long been waiting for: The start of the adaptation of the Lower and Outer Elbe fairways!

It will begin with dredging works for the meeting box and the widening of the fairway in the Elbe - the main project of this endeavour. Federal Minister Andres Scheuer has now given the starting signal for it; the excavator is about to start digging.

Mr Scheuer said:

Germany is the world champion in exports and logistics - and we want to maintain this leading position. For this reason, we are future-proofing our maritime infrastructure. One of the key projects therefore is the adaptation of the Lower and Outer Elbe fairways. The impact of widening the Elbe alone is major: We will create more flexibility, efficiency, capacity and safety for large vessels. As a result, an arithmetic total of 2,800 large container vessels will be able to reach the port of Hamburg each year. That is almost twice as many as today. By deepening the Elbe, access will become less dependent on tides. Ever-growing containerships, mainly from EastAsia, will be able to reach the port of Hamburg reliably and safely.

German ports are essential for the maritime industry. They make a substantial contribution to Germany being and staying world champion The port of Hamburg is Germany’s port with the highest turnover with a volume of 135.1 million tonnes of seaborne cargo handled (2018) and 8.7 million TEUs of container volume handled (2018).

The details of adapting the fairway are:

  • Widening of the Elbe: The fairway between Wedel and the Stör/Elbe confluence will be widened from 300 to 320 metres. This will allow ships of a width of 92 metres to safely pass by or overtake each other. In addition, a "meeting box" will be built along 8 kilometres near Wedel. It will be 385 metres wide and allow up to 4 large containerships per tide to approach each other.
  • Deepening of the Elbe: The second adaptation is the deepening of the Elbe. The aim is to make the port accessible for container ships with a draught of 13.5 metres irrespective of the tide and 14.5 metres dependent upon the tide.

For further information see: (in German)