Dredging of the River Elbe has officially begun at the Port of Hamburg as the hopper dredger Scheldt River started the adjustment of the fairway.
After the fairway adjustment, ocean-going ships will be able to leave the port with a draft of 13.50 m and, using flood tide, with one of 14.50 m.
It will provide one extra metre of draft and will allow shops to handle 1,800 teu more per call.
Axel Mattern, joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, said: “This is very good news for our trading and shipping customers in the German and European hinterland and all our worldwide business partners.”
The process to get to this point has been lengthy and as joint CEO Ingo Egloff put it the port has “waited a long time” for works to begin.
The ‘passing box’ downstream from Hamburg will make the Elbe navigable for mega-ships in both directions without the existing restrictions.
At present, suitable berths and terminal equipment means that the port is ready to handle large containerships with a capacity of over 22,000 teu.
As the third biggest container port in Europe, Hamburg offers high productivity along with short lay times at its terminals and an inland rail network.