Too much silt in the Elbe: First exchange in the Hamburg City Hall | – News

Status: 12/09/2022 7:42 p.m

In the dispute over the silt in the Elbe, representatives from Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein met with the Hamburg Senate in City Hall on Friday. There has apparently been no breakthrough at the so-called silt summit, but talks are to be continued.

The state secretaries from Hanover and Kiel sat together with the Hamburg state councilors for longer than expected. According to the Hamburg Senate, the talks were constructive. Possible solutions to the question of where Hamburg and the federal government could dump silt in the future were examined.

What to do with the silt?

So far, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has unloaded its dredgers near Helgoland, on Schleswig-Holstein territory. And near the state border at Wedel. From January, Hamburg actually wants to dump its silt near the island of Scharhörn in front of Cuxhaven. Lower Saxony, on the other hand, has threatened to sue, and Schleswig-Holstein has also raised legal concerns.

Goal: Solution that can be supported by everyone

The talks between the representatives of the countries concerned are to be continued in the near future. The goal is a solution supported by everyone, it was said after the silt summit in the town hall. The Federal Ministry of Transport also wants to get involved.

AUDIO: First silt summit in Hamburg City Hall (1 min)

Hamburg sees the port’s competitiveness at risk

Since December 1, ships that call at the port of Hamburg are only allowed to do so with a shallower draft. This was decided by the Federal Waterways and Shipping Directorate in November because too much silt and sand had settled in the Elbe. The regulation applies at least until November 30, 2023. This means that large container ships have less leeway for transporting goods for a year and can sometimes only enter with a reduced load. The port industry and also Hamburg’s Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) therefore see the competitiveness of the port in danger.

Further information

A stilt excavator shovels up to 35 cubic meters of mud in one stroke.  © NDR

Due to immense amounts of silt, the navigable water depth of the Elbe is reduced. But should one keep digging for that? And where is the mud then? more

Debate on Elbe deepening in Hamburg

In Hamburg, meanwhile, there is a debate about the sense of deepening the Elbe. The measure, which cost around 800 million euros, was intended to ensure that ships with a draft of up to 14.5 meters could call at Hamburg at any time. This is no longer possible just a few months after graduation. Hamburg’s Greens had therefore declared the Elbe deepening a failure. And there have also been heated discussions in the citizenship recently. Environmental organizations such as NABU, BUND and WWF are calling for a rethink anyway. They had already complained about the deepening of the Elbe and consider the constant dredging to be ecologically questionable. “The senseless dredging must end before the ecological damage is irreparable,” they said.

Further information

The dredger "MS Willem van Oranie" dumping silt on the lower Elbe.  © blickwinkel/C.  Emperor

The port of Hamburg has a silt problem. But the contingent for a landfill site on Heligoland is almost exhausted. It has to be renegotiated. (01.12.2022) more

Container ships sail on the Elbe near Hamburg-Blankenese.  © picture alliance/dpa Photo: Marcus Brandt

From now on, access to the port of Hamburg is only possible with a shallower draft. A port summit is planned for next week. (01.12.2022) more

An excavator fetches silt from a harbor basin in Hamburg.  © picture alliance / dpa Photo: Axel Heimken

In the dispute over the silt in the Elbe, Hamburg’s Mayor Tschentscher and the Chamber of Commerce are calling on the federal government to help. (26.11.2022) more

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NDR 90.3 | NDR 90.3 Current | 09.12.2022 | 8:00 p.m

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