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Silt Problem In The Elbe: Hamburg Calls For Port Summits

Posted on November 29, 2022

In the dispute over the silt in the Elbe, Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) and the Chamber of Commerce are now calling on the federal government to help. Above all, the staff in the water and shipping administration is to be increased.

The joint letter from Mayor Tschentscher and Chamber of Commerce President Norbert Aust, which is available on NDR 90.3, consists of three pages. It is addressed to the Federal Chancellery, Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP). A port summit of the federal government and coastal states should bring the solution to the dispute over the silt.

“Functionality of the port affected”

According to the paper, the functionality of the Port of Hamburg is currently acutely impaired. Tschentscher and Aust cite two reasons as the cause: On the one hand, the federal government took back part of the Elbe deepening because of the large amount of silt in the Elbe. The mayor and chamber see the second problem in the fact that Hamburg cannot get rid of its own silt. An agreement with Schleswig-Holstein is currently expiring. And Lower Saxony is threatening to sue if Hamburg dumps silt near the Elbe island of Scharhörn, which belongs to the Hanseatic city. According to Tschentscher and Aust, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein would particularly benefit economically from the port of Hamburg. Now the federal government should mediate.

Competitiveness of the ports should be strengthened

At the national port summit, the use of shore power in the ports and the expansion of the rail connection must also be discussed, write Tschentscher and Aust in the letter, which was also sent to the heads of government of Lower Saxony, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The federal and state governments should work together to improve the performance and competitiveness of the ports.

Criticism also from the Central Association of German Seaport Companies

On Friday, the Central Association of German Seaport Companies also sharply criticized the federal government. Entertainment and maintenance of the waterways are sovereign tasks of the federal government, said Managing Director Daniel Hosseus. “In reality, this is in no way satisfactory”, he explained. It was not the deepening of the Elbe that had failed, but the sustainable and reliable maintenance of the waterway infrastructure.


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