German federal cabinet releases new national port concept 2015
A new national port concept has been revealed by the German federal cabinet to fortify the competitiveness of the German ports and to remove blockades in the hinterland and sea connections.
The new concept will address the challenges faced by the German ports and will develop measures to combat them. It is aimed at supporting port policy-making for the next ten years.
It comprises of 155 separate measures alongside general statements of the new port concept's goals, which include expansion of port infrastructure, measures for training and employment, as well as better coordination of port politics between the EU, federal government and the states.
Subject to corresponding judicial decisions, the Under-Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure and also the states will assume the responsibility to implement the policies.
The navigation channels Ems, Weser and Elbe will be deepened to enhance the accessibility of the north German seaports.
Additionally, the federal government is anticipating expanding the hinterland connections and increase financial support of the ports for the provision of efficient handling capacities in the offshore wind energy sector.
The concept stated the federal state's responsibility to prove the authenticity of the demand for funding. It had also issued a caution against the port's one-sided investment towards offshore wind energy.
Meanwhile, the federal association of German Inland Shipping (Bundesverband der Deutschen Binnenschifffahrt e.V. / BDB) argued that the concept does not encompass the concerns of the German inland waterway ports since the hinterland transports of the ports of Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam account for a large portion of the German cargo volumes in the Rhine river valley.
On the other hand, the national port concept has been hailed by the Central Association of German Sea Ports (Zentralverband Deutscher Seehäfen e.V. / ZDS) as a method to pave the way for a successful port politics and had requested for a rapid implementation of the same.