The Port of Hamburg in Germany has completed the first phase of the Elbe widening project, enabling vessels of combined length of up to 98m to pass safely in the widened section.

Called the passing box, the section of the Elbe river has been widened to 385m. Previously, only ships with a combined length of 90m could pass through.

The remaining work to widen the passing box on the three-kilometre section is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

Following the work completion, the allowed vessel length will also increase.

The port has also completed the holding area at Brunsbüttel. The area is being used as the anchorage since the end of 2019. It helps the ships that depend on the tide to wait when the water phase is low.

The port is working on deepening the entire stretch of the port. Ships that are dependant on the tide and those that are not will benefit from an extra metre of the loaded draft.

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German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer said: “We started dredging operations on the Lower and Outer Elbe at the end of July. In our section, the work on widening has now been completed.

“As soon as the work in the up-river section of the passing stretch through Hamburg has been completed, the combined width of ships passing can be raised. For shipping, this boosts flexibility, efficiency, capacity and safety. Because more and also larger vessels can call and depart simultaneously, the number of mega-containerships can then be more than doubled to 2,800 containerships per year.”

Earlier this month, Siemens developed a turnkey onshore power supply for the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) that will provide grid power to docked ships at the Hamburg Altona cruise terminal.