Together for the Port

The Port of Hamburg will significantly reduce the port calling costs for large-sized ships. The State Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and the port industry are thus responding to the continuing restrictions that apply to passages on the River Elbe. The aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of the port of Hamburg in view of the decision on the channel adjustment rendered by the federal administrative court in Leipzig.

As a response to the challenging situation on international shipping markets, terminal operators in particular granted shipping lines substantial discounts in the past years. On top of that, in 2013 the Hamburg Port Authority and port service providers will offer international shipping the following discounts and rebates.

1. Port fees/exceptionally large vessel discount: The port fees for container ships will still be capped at 110,000 GT. For exceptionally large ships an additional discount will be introduced, lowering port fees by approximately 6% and 12% respectively (discount for ships > 360m in length: € 1,500; discount for ships > 390m in length: € 3,000).

2. Port fees/transhipment rebate: The port fee rebate already planned to be granted for transhipment containers will be retained; it will however be advanced to 1st April 2013 and increased by 20%.

3. Port fees/environmental ship index: For ships with a particularly good environmental performance (ESI score > 50) the discount cap will be increased by a good 30%, from € 1,500 to € 2,000. The additional ESI discount is specifically geared towards newly launched ultra large container ships (ULCS).

4. Port fees/annual adjustment: The periodic adjustment of the port fees to rising port operation costs – the increase planned for 2013 is 1.9% – will not be introduced on 1st January 2013 as previously scheduled, but postponed to 1st April 2013; this is equivalent to a 25%-reduction of the increase.

5. Other measures: Port service providers will complement the a.m. measures within the means of their disposal. Talks are being held with the Waterways and Shipping Administration/Directorate North [WSD Nord] concerning a capping of pilotage fees and charges at 110,000 GT for the passage on the River Elbe.

6. Vessel traffic management on the River Elbe: Vessel traffic management on the River Elbe and in the port of Hamburg will focus even more on the requirements of exceptionally large ships. Apart from state-of-the-art traffic control technology, the core of staff needs to be sufficient to handle the rising number of calls by ships of this size. The HPA has recruited additional vessel traffic service centre staff, in particular to further improve the coordination of ship-meeting-and-passing traffic on the River Elbe.

The Hamburg Minister for Economic Affairs, Frank Horch, confirmed the measures agreed: “Container ships of the latest generation with a capacity of over 10,000 TEU are particularly affected by the delay of the channel deepening as they cannot call at or leave the port of Hamburg fully laden. By reducing the port fees we not only demonstrate that we intend to commit every single customer to Hamburg on a long-term basis, but that we also enjoy excellent co-operation with the port industry and move in the same direction for the benefit of the port and the entire business site.”

“I am delighted to announce that the Senate of Hamburg, the Hamburg Port Authority and the business community have co-operated and agreed on a package of measures, thus sending a clear message to international shipping markets. I am confident that our port’s high efficiency combined with these cost reliefs will ensure that Hamburg remains Europe’s most attractive port for trade with Asia,” says Fritz Horst Melsheimer, President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

Jens Meier, Managing Director of the Hamburg Port Authority: “The port of Hamburg’s competitive edge in Europe is excellent. In conjunction with politics and the port industry we will ensure that the port is well equipped to meet the challenges of an ever more difficult market environment.”

Gunther Bonz, President of the Association of Hamburg Port Operators [Unternehmensverband Hafen Hamburg e.V.]: “With this package of measures that will further reduce the costs of shipping companies the port of Hamburg is setting an important signal in international competition. Hamburg’s port industry, as a part of the alliance to strengthen the port as a business site, is contributing to improved vessel traffic management to optimise the clearance of large ships that are particularly affected by the continued delay of the channel adjustment.”