Hamburg Mega Dredge Gets Green Light


Germany's top administrative court has ruled that the deepening of the Elbe River in Hamburg should go ahead so massive containerships can reach Hamburg Port, despite environmental concerns.

According to DW, the case went to court after plans to deepen the Elbe River to a depth of 15.6 metres were announced and environmentalists registered a complaint as they believe dredging would affect a rare species of plant.

Local fishermen also registered complaints.

In a counter claim, Hamburg argued that the project is necessary to open Germany's largest port to mega capacities and thereby maintain international competitiveness.

With Hamburg in a key location as a gateway to Europe, it has major competition in the form of the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, something the court considered when ruling in Hamburg’s favour.

German Food and Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, who is also acting Transport Minister, said: "As a world leader in exports and logistics, Germany must also be able to serve the needs of container ships that operate globally.”

Striking a balance between expansion and environmental concerns, or at worst accepting the ramifications, has long been a major concern when ports are looking to dredge rivers and expand container yards.

Olaf Merk of the OECD tackled this issue in a paper for PTI and stated that ports cannot have it both ways, therefore they must proactively plan for their future with green considerations in mind.