The official inauguration today of Germany’s first deep-water container terminal, in the Port of Wilhelmshaven, sets the stage for a fierce battle for cargo with the neighboring ports of Bremen/Bremerhaven and Hamburg.
The $1.6 billion Jade Weser terminal will be able to handle container ships with capacities up to 18,000 20-foot-equivalent units regardless of tidal conditions, giving it a competitive edge over rivals that are located several miles from the open sea.
Today’s opening ceremony was preceded by the arrival Thursday night of Maersk Line’s 7,450-TEU Maersk Laguna, the first container ship to load and unload boxes at the terminal.
The terminal is a joint venture between Bremen-based Eurogate, which invested $455 million in the project, and APM Terminals, the port operating arm of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk.
The states of Lower Saxony and Bremen contributed $845 million. Hamburg, Europe’s second-largest box hub, mulled investing in Jade Weser, but pulled out.
Maersk Line, the terminal’s first — and so far only — customer, has slotted Jade Weser into the schedule of its AE1 Europe-Far East and CRX South America services.
The terminal, which will build out to a 3 million-TEU annual capacity, is offering introductory 70 percent discounts on tariffs in a bid to lure carriers from rival ports.
“Initially, the container terminal will have a higher share of transshipment business. The loading side first needs to develop. It’s only natural that that will take a certain time,” said Marcel Egger, managing director of the terminal.
“The market participants first have to adjust to the new port and organize their loads accordingly. But we are very confident that over the long term Wilhelmshaven will be a big success.”
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