JadeWeserPort, Germany’s newest container terminal, is planning to put around 400 employees on part-time work because it is has attracted only two weekly liner services since it began operations in the port of Wilhelmshaven last September.
The management of Germany’s first deep-water container terminal will discuss changes to working rotas with union officials on Friday, according to local media.
The impact on the terminal and the affected employees will be softened by the Kurzarbeit system, under which the German government makes up for lost earnings of workers on reduced hours to protect jobs and safeguard skills.
Eurogate, the operator and 70 percent majority owner of JadeWeserPort, is also suing the Wilhelmshaven port authority over the level of dues which are said to put the terminal at disadvantage to rivals in the neighbouring ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven.
The opening of JadeWeserPort, the only German terminal able to handle ships up to 18,000 20-foot equivalent units regardless of tidal conditions, coincided with a sharp slump in European container imports from Asia that has intensified price competition between established terminals in the Le Havre-Hamburg port range.
Despite a 70 percent introductory discount on ship tariffs, reduced to 50 percent in January, JadeWeser has only attracted two services, both operated by Maersk Line, a sister company of APM Terminals, which owns 30 percent of the terminal.
JadeWeser, which has an annual capacity of 2.7 million TEUs, reportedly guaranteed 640,000 TEUs of traffic in its first year of operation.