Renovations Sought at Kiel Canal

MarineLink.com
Monday, November 11, 2013
Brunsbüttel (Photo: WSV)

In the course of a press panel discussion in Hamburg hosted by Port of Hamburg Marketing, port and business representatives from centers along the Kiel Canal and the Hamburg Port Authority jointly called for the reconstruction without delay of the fifth lock chamber and the renovation of the two existing large lock chambers at Brunsbüttel. In the medium term, business in the port and industry regard the straightening out of the Eastern stretch of the canal and its deepening by one meter as indispensable measures.

Chaired by Port of Hamburg Marketing CEO Axel Mattern, the panel was concerned with the demands on an effective and reliable canal infrastructure, and the economic consequences of its restricted use and accessibility. Jens Broder Knudsen, Chairman of Kiel Canal Initiative, Jens Meier, Chairman of the Executive Board of Hamburg Port Authority, Frank Schnabel, Chairman of the Federation of Schleswig-Holstein Ports, and Rainer Keiemburg, Managing Director of TOTAL Bitumen Deutschland, participated. For Jens Broder Knudsen, it is clear that for handling their growing flows of goods, not just ports on the canal, but others in Northern Germany and our neighboring countries, depend on having a functioning Kiel Canal that is navigable free of obstacles. Knudsen pointed out that with the assent of all 16 federal states of Germany, the Bodewig Commission had worked out some innovative possibilities for financing infrastructure. By way of special funding and pilot projects, with a broad political consensus a basis had been secured for long-term refinancing of infrastructure funding as a matter of priority. In Knudsen’s view, this will radically simplify the implementation of future infrastructure measures. “The present debate about a ‘Car toll on foreigners’ should not be allowed to further prevent the politically desired topping up of additional funds in the budget. The Kiel Canal is the lifeline that connects German ports on the North Sea with the Baltic. The funding from the special fund to be created for the essential and overdue upgrading works on the Kiel Canal should serve to secure this advantage in routing vis-à-vis the competing ports in the Netherlands and Belgium,” declared Knudsen.

Despite several gaps and restrictions in operation of the canal, in the first half of 2013 a total of 15,940 vessels transited the Kiel Canal, transporting 48.8 million tons of cargo. For Frank Schnabel, the accessibility of the ports lying directly on the Kiel Canal in Brunsbüttel, Hochdonn, Hohenhörn, Kreishafen Rendsburg plus Rendsburg Port, the recently built heavy cargo port, Kiel’s Nordhafen and the Kiel-Holtenau inland waterway port, must be guaranteed in the long term. “If the reliability of the canal, actually the most heavily used canal in the world, cannot be guaranteed due to infrastructural deficiencies, then that will rapidly lead to a switching of transport flows. That will then affect innumerable jobs directly or indirectly attributable to the canal and the sea trades using it,” declared Frank Schnabel, for whom the Kiel Canal is more than just a transit waterway. “The Kiel Canal is just as much a lifeline for industrial firms and businesses along the canal. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are so tightly networked that negative consequences for Hamburg’s port also hit Schleswig-Holstein and its maritime economy directly. We must at all costs prevent the catastrophe of a long-term closure of the Kiel Canal, since otherwise the national economy will suffer grave damage,” warned Schnabel.

Rainer Keiemburg drew attention to the uninterrupted supply and transports of products for industry based on the canal and in the region: “For production facilities such as TOTAL Bitumen, Bayer or the Heide Refinery, any restrictions on operations or closures of the canal entail losses running into millions. Delays or cessations of production cause extra costs and enormous expense for such firms. And these can also very rapidly lead to supply bottlenecks for our customers,” as Keiemburg made clear. For a company like TOTAL Bitumen Deutschland, which can point to a century of success and with its products is also closely linked to infrastructural development, in Keiemburg’s view a functioning Kiel Canal is also a decisive factor in determining whether Brunsbüttel’s development as an industrial base reaches a dead-end or remains on a growth course.

After the replacement investments in the locks and the Levensauer elevated bridge, in the view of the Kiel Canal Initiative the growing sizes and drafts of ships require adjustment of the Eastern stretch of the canal very soon. “This would allow greater feasible draft and hence higher transport capacity. Along with the adaptation and optimization of the canal bends on the Eastern stretch, a deepening by one additional meter to a total of 12 meters is also vital. These measures would shorten passage times for shipping, eliminating waiting times. It is also of crucial importance that the canal control centers should be adequately staffed with engineers and technicians. Without additional staff, the essential complete upgrading of the Kiel Canal will not be assured,” stressed Knudsen.

For Jens Meier, the Kiel Canal represents a crucial geographical advantage for the Port of Hamburg and other German ports on North Sea. From Hamburg to Gdansk, for example the route advantage using the Kiel Canal is 437 nautical miles, compared to the route around Denmark that via Skagen totals 874 nautical miles. “With more than 130 feedership departures per week, around 2 million TEU per year are transported by feeder through the canal in an ecologically friendly manner between Hamburg and the Baltic region. The economic significance of the Kiel Canal therefore extends far beyond North Germany. The upgrading, enlargement and regular maintenance of the Kiel Canal is an urgent necessity,” Jens Meier also emphasized.

Port of Hamburg Marketing CEO Axel Mattern wound up the panel discussion by commenting that as the shortest, fastest and most environmentally friendly sea link with the Baltic region, the Kiel Canal is of immense importance for the wider Hamburg metropolitan region. “In combination with the Elbe and the Port of Hamburg, the Kiel Canal is a traffic system. The preservation and upgrading of the canal as part of Germany’s transport infrastructure is a national obligation and utterly essential for the preservation of the competitiveness of our economy and our ports. After the neglect of infrastructure over recent decades, we expect absolutely clear signals from the incoming new federal government indicating an assured future for the Kiel Canal and the related trade industry and ports,” Mattern said.

portofhamburg.com
 


Ports

Krishnapatnam Port, Maersk Launches Mainline Service for China

Krishnapatnam, the country’s largest all-weather; deep water port on the east-coast of India has marked another milestone towards operational excellence as it launched

India Shipping Ministry Enlarges Scope of Sagarmala

India's Ministry of Shipping has formulated a revised Central Sector Scheme to provide financial support to Major and Non-Major Ports as well as State Governments

Singapore to Focus on Improving Navigational Safety

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched the first-ever International Safety@Sea Conference in Singapore.    The conference will run for two days and concludes on 31 August 2016.

News

Japanese Yards Mull Shipbuilding Alliance

Four major Japanese shipbuilders are in discussions to form an alliance in hopes of riding out the industry slump.   Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) announced

Another Tug Launched for Suderman & Young

Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. said it launched on August 15, 2016 the final vessel in a series of four Z-Tech Class Terminal & Escort Tugs being constructed for Suderman & Young Towing Company.

OSV firm Farstad Continues Restructuring Talks

Supply firm Farstad Shipping's CEO Karl Johan Bakken repeats is in stand-still agreement with lenders until Oct. 1   Notable disclosures: * CEO says is talking

 
 
Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1068 sec (9 req/sec)