Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and the Port of Braunschweig’s operating company have begun a strategic partnership, aiming to promote environmentally friendly inland waterway shipping in hinterland container transport between Hamburg and the inland port in Lower Saxony.
The Port of Hamburg is the largest rail port in Europe and while rail-based hinterland traffic is a strength, it cannot often be utilised on short routes, where trucking is often the usual mode of transport.
The 180 km distance between Hamburg and Braunschweig is too short for the train, making inland waterway shipping an attractive alternative to truck transport via this route.
Transit time via the waterway is roughly 24 hours, and the partners hope it will relieve the burden on roads and reduce CO2 emissions at the same time.
HHLA executive board member Jens Hansen, responsible for operations, said: “Hamburg and Braunschweig have excellent connections via the river Elbe, the Elbe Lateral Canal and the Mittelland Canal.
“In order to shift additional transport volume to environmentally friendly inland waterway carriers, we want to work together with the Port of Braunschweig to develop new transport concepts for companies interested in forwarding goods.”
He noted that 70,000 standard containers were moved between Hamburg and Braunschweig via the waterway last year, saving approximately 40,000 truck journeys.
Jens Hohls, managing director of Braunschweig’s port operating company, stated: “We currently offer seven inland waterway departures between Hamburg and Braunschweig per week. This traffic must run reliably. Our strategic partnership with HHLA is therefore particularly important to us.”
This strategic collaboration with an inland port is a first for HHLA. Hansen has announced that additional ones shall follow; the company is already conducting discussions with further inland ports in the hinterland of the Port of Hamburg.
As well as being Germany’s largest seaport, the Port of Hamburg is its second largest inland port, handling around 10,000 inland vessels annually.
Since 2012, the annual volume of container traffic reaching or leaving the Port of Hamburg by inland waterway vessel has grown by 50 percent to approximately 140,000 teu.