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"No perspective in international competition"

Port experts have given WELT AM SONNTAG initial assessments of the draft of the new port development plan.

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"No perspective in international competition"

Port experts have given WELT AM SONNTAG initial assessments of the draft of the new port development plan. The associations involved should officially comment on this by the beginning of December. The new port development plan replaces the last such paper from 2012.

The reactions varied: "The draft of the port development plan does not offer the port of Hamburg any prospects in the tough international competition," criticizes Götz Wiese, the economic policy spokesman for the CDU in the Hamburg Parliament. "Many individual measures are listed, which remain in detail, but there is no honest analysis of the competition, and there is no answer to the big question: How can Hamburg survive in the competition to ensure prosperity in our city, and what investments are needed for now."

The environmental organization Nabu is also critical of the draft, despite all the positive elements: "The port development plan is primarily a status description with 'keep it up' from a Hamburg perspective," says Malte Siegert, Chairman of Nabu Hamburg, "without seriously considering the really big global developments Involve planning – or other existing goals such as sustainability, climate protection, resource conservation, land protection, biodiversity.”

Among other things, Siegert addresses the increasing siltation of the Lower Elbe. The environmental organizations continue to reject the recent ninth Elbe deepening as wrong. They now see their earlier assessment confirmed, that a larger fairway would automatically bring more sediment into the Lower Elbe. "For example, the - more climate-friendly - long way of seagoing vessels to the water is mentioned as a plus for Hamburg's inland location," says Siegert. "The contradiction between latently damaging the Elbe through dredging and not having a plan for transnational sediment management remains unspoken."

The Port of Hamburg Association of Companies (UVHH) emphasizes "many good approaches" in the draft: "On the other hand, we are concerned about the diverse usage requirements for the port," says General Manager Norman Zurke. “Other trades are to be increasingly located in the port in the future. What is particularly important to us is that areas on the water that is deep for seagoing vessels are given priority to handling companies.”

From the point of view of the UVHH, a long-term important topic is the balance between the needs of the port industry and urban development, especially in housing construction. Especially in the eastern part of the port, in the foothills of Hafencity, the port and the district are now growing closer together again.

"Basically, only those companies that absolutely need to be in close proximity to the water should be located in the port," says Zurke. “In this context, we are critical of the fact that the focus is very much on new settlements. However, the port development plan should also offer existing companies a long-term perspective.”

Hamburg's port is to be climate-neutral by 2040, handle a little more than a third of today's volume and act as a heavily digitalised, highly innovative center of the European maritime economy. These are some of the core statements from the confidential draft of the Port Development Plan 2040, which has been awaited for months and which is available to WELT.

The Hamburg economic authority and the port administration Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) sent the document to the associations involved in the development of the port strategy last week. They still have around two weeks to comment.

The responsible authorities then finally agree on the port development plan, the Senate decides on it and gives it to the citizens for information. The draft was preceded by an intensive participation process in which citizens were also involved digitally.

The document contains a first part of 41 pages, in which the situation of the port and its development prospects for the coming decades are outlined. The second, 46-page part describes the desired implementation of the measures, for example in digitization, infrastructure or climate protection, but also in the interaction of port and urban development. The port is also to be expanded as a logistics hub for growing e-commerce.

The port development plan stands in clear contrast to a thesis paper from the "Hamburg Convention" from a few days ago, which suggests greater use of port areas for scientific purposes and considers stagnation in the port's handling volumes to be acceptable.

A different tone is struck in the development plan: "Overall, the numerous contributions to the port development plan show the city's clear commitment to its maritime future and to the modernization of the port." One of the key points is a climate-neutral port by 2040. "The Port of Hamburg reduces greenhouse gases - and pollutant emissions in handling and transport, in order to make operations carbon-neutral from 2040 onwards," it says. "This is done with an approach that is open to technology and relies on the innovative potential on site." Among other things, the Senate is also relying on shore power connections at all Hamburg container terminals.

In 2021, Hamburg handled a total of 129 million tons of goods. “Prospectively, a moderate increase in turnover can be assumed. A handling forecast commissioned by the HPA predicts a market potential of 176.7 million tons for all goods handling by the year 2035 in the base scenario.

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