Hamburg said it will freeze 2011 harbor dues at 2010 levels amid an increasingly competitive battle for cargo, especially containers and break bulk shipments.
Germany's biggest port and Europe's third largest container hub also plans to switch to volume-based tariffs from the current tonnage-based rates in the second half of 2011.
Rotterdam, Europe's top container port, currently uses a volume-based system to calculate port dues, which boosts the port’s revenue during boom times and reduces costs for ship-owners during market downturns.
By The Numbers: Europe-Asia Eastbound Container Trade.
Rotterdam will apply a once-only "recovery" rebate of 3 percent for 2011, equating to a 2 percent cut as the port previously planned a 1 percent increase.
This followed a once only 7 percent "crisis" rebate in 2010 which was equivalent to a 5 percent reduction.
Antwerp, Europe's second largest box port, also froze its 2011 dues at 2010 levels.
Bremerhaven will keep 2011 dues at 2010 levels but will increase tariffs for ships carrying cargoes for the offshore wind turbine sector.