HHLA and Port of Braunschweig seal strategic partnership

Partnership to promote environment-friendly inland shipping
20 August 2020
Container ship at Köhlbrand bridge

The Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and Hafenbetriebsgesellschaft Braunschweig mbH, which operates the Port of Braunschweig, signed an agreement Monday (July 13, 2020) on a strategic partnership. The goal is to promote environment-friendly inland waterway shipping in hinterland container transport between Hamburg and the inland port in Lower Saxony.

Inland waterways - alternative to road routes

Although the Port of Hamburg is Europe's largest rail port and rail-based hinterland traffic is one of its strengths, this competitive advantage often cannot be used on short routes. The distance of 180 kilometres between Hamburg and Braunschweig is too short for the train. This is where inland waterway shipping can offer an attractive alternative to lorry transport with transit times of approximately 24 hours.

“Hamburg and Braunschweig have excellent connections via the River Elbe, the Elbe Lateral Canal and the Mittelland Canal,” said Jens Hansen, a Member of HHLA's Executive Board. Around 70,000 standard containers were moved between Hamburg and Braunschweig via the waterway in 2019 and saving some 40,000 lorry journeys, he noted. “We want to work with the Port of Braunschweig to develop new transport concepts for companies interested in forwarding goods to shift additional transport volume to environment-friendly inland waterway carriers, ” said Hansen. This will relieve the burden on roads and reduce CO2 emissions at the same time.

Greater collaborations with inland ports 

Jens Hohls, Managing Director of Braunschweig’s port operating company, remarked: “We currently offer seven inland waterway departures between Hamburg and Braunschweig per week. This traffic must run reliably. Our strategic partnership with HHLA is therefore particularly important to us.” This strategic collaboration with an inland port is a first for HHLA and more will follow, Hansen said. The company is already holding talks with other inland ports in the hinterland of the Port of Hamburg.

Digitale platform for inland shipping

Last year, Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC) developed a digital platform for inland waterway ships to co-ordinate ship calls, routes within the port, the assignment of berths and terminal handling. HVCC, a joint venture between Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg GmbH, ensures smooth processing.
sm/pb