Businesses operating in the current Free Zone that will be affected by the change will be required to conform to the customs regulations applicable to seaports as of January 1, 2013, as is already the case in other parts of the Port of Hamburg and in Rotterdam, Antwerp and other European ports.
Axel Gedaschko, Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs explained, “Through the abolishment of the Free Zone, Hamburg will once again be given absolute sovereignty in terms of planning and design for the port district. This will benefit the port in every way. To the businesses affected by this change, we – together with the customs authority, the Chamber of Commerce and the associations of port-related business – will be providing assistance in order to help them achieve as smooth a transition as possible.”
The Senate had been compelled to re-evaluate the status of the Hamburg Free Zone in the aftermath of substantial changes to the relevant EU customs legislation, future logistical challenges and urban planning trends. Responding to a changed international security situation, the WHO and the EU have formulated a new general framework for managing cross-border movement of goods. In future, procedures subject to customs regulations will have the same status in all EU ports, regardless of their customs status.