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Hamburg holds and lowers its fees

Hamburg holds and lowers its fees

Hamburg’s pilots and the Elbe River pilots have also agreed to forego the increase in pilotage charges already fixed for 2010.

In addition to the volume rebate of up to 50% for additional traffic, which is already in place, a time-limited transhipment incentive system is also planned to be introduced that could save up to 50% of the cost per box.

At the same time further expansion and improvement of port infrastructure will take place to cater for future trade needs and growth, with an estimated €1bn (US$1.4bn) of the proceeds generated by the sale of HHLA shares in 2007 being spent over the coming four to five years.

The German federal railway, Deutsche Bahn AG, has also announced plans to invest €280m (US$412m) over the next four years to 2014 on building a third railway track on the 27 km Stelle-Lüneburg section, with a fourth track being laid between Stelle and Ashausen.

A two-track expansion project in Hausbruch will improve the port rail links, whilst the facilities at the Billwerder rail freight station will be expanded at a cost of around €17m (US$25m). These projects are in addition to the refurbishment of existing infrastructure, costing €230m, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

As part of the measure, the Port will be prepared to extend payment up to 12 months if ‘the respective securities can be provided’ to benefit ship owners.

Ship owners will also automatically profit from the incorporation of a volume component in the port tariffs from 2011 onwards if their handling volumes decrease due to the global economic crisis. In addition, ships transporting more cargo will be given preference treatment and climate-friendly ships will be rewarded.

Like other ports around the world, the global economic crisis has caused a sharp drop in handling rates in Hamburg, however, current signs are that the bottom has been reached and the Port is back on the path to growth.