Major Milestone for Elbe Fairway Widening Project
From Tuesday, January 28, vessels with a combined width of up to 98 meters may pass each other in a widened section of the Elbe known as the ‘passing box’, reports the Port of Hamburg.
The five-kilometer stretch under Federal jurisdiction now has a width of 385 meters.
Similarly, the fairway along the 36-kilometer stretch between Wedel and the mouth of the Stör has been widened from 300 to 320 meters. In this segment ships with a combined width of 92 meters may pass or overtake each other.
“With the initial fairway widenings of the Elbe, meanwhile completed, we are on a good course, immediately improving the conditions for calls by mega-ships,” said Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. “For shipping and our port customers, this is really gratifying news for the start of the year.”
The holding area at Brunsbüttel has also been completed. This has been available as anchorage since the end of last year – when allocated by the traffic control center.
This offers ships dependent on the tide, and unable to make the tide ‘window’ for currently unforeseeable reasons, the opportunity of waiting during the new low water phase. The holding area forms an essential element of the safety concept.
Andreas Scheuer, German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, stressed: “We started dredging operations on the Lower and Outer Elbe at the end of July. In our section, the work on widening has now been completed. As soon as the work in the up-river section of the passing stretch through Hamburg has been completed, the combined width of ships passing can be raised.”
Prof. Dr.-lng. Hans-Heinrich Witte, President of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration – WSV – commented: “With these widenings, shipping on the Elbe will for the first time profit from the fairway adjustment. That is good for waterway capacity, traffic flow and safety.”
Currently, work is in progress on deepening the entire stretch. Both ships dependent on the tide, and those that are not, will gain from one extra meter of loaded draft. The works will be completed next year.