The Port of Hamburg is in the middle of a crash expansion program to help the port cope with an unexpected boom that has pushed current capacity to the limit.
An immediate measure under way is the doubling of available space at the Burkhardt terminal to 50,000 square meters. Four new container bridges of the fourth generation are also under construction, with the first bridge already completed. The remaining three bridges are expected to be completed this year for an investment volume of up to $6.4 million (11 million deutsche marks).A new container terminal also is planned, although officials at the port authority, called Hamburger Hafen und Lagerhaus-Aktiengesell- schaft, or HHLA, said they are just in the beginning planning stages. HHLA, an arm of Hamburg's municipal government, is one of three main terminal operators at the port.
The Port of Bremen, Germany's other major international port, also is expanding its facilities. Port officials dedicated in late July the latest phase of the port basin, called Neustadter Hafen. The harbor now has 1.4 miles of docks, 220 acres of handling and storage areas, and 66 acres of warehouse space. Further expansion is slated for later in the decade.
The growth plans of both ports were stimulated by unexpectedly strong gains in business due to the opening up of Eastern Europe.
At Hamburg, the new chairman of the port's supervisory board, Hamburg Economics Minister Hans-Juergen Krupp, has already expressed strong support for port expansion. Mr. Krupp, a Social Democrat, is not in favor of privatizing the port, although officials indicated that this stance will not affect the port's operations. As it currently stands, the Hamburg government is responsible for infrastructure investment at the port, and the various terminal operators take care of the rest.
In the first half of this year, container traffic at the Burkhardtkai, operated by HHLA, grew by 24.4 percent compared with the same period last year, to 556,000 20-foot containers or their equivalent (TEU). Officials believe the terminal will handle more than 1 million TEUs for the first time this year. Total container volume at the port is expected to be 2 million TEUs.
A total of DM5 billion is expected to be invested in the port by the year 2000, of which DM2.5 billion will be paid for by the city's taxpayers.