Booming Cuxport grows again

Elbe offshore hub Cuxport (Photo Cuxport) Elbe offshore hub Cuxport (Photo Cuxport)

Expansion continues at Germany’s Elbe Estuary/North Sea port of Cuxhaven where another new ship berth for heavy lift handling is being inaugurated soon, reports Tom Todd.

The new Berth 9.1 heavy lift facility, along with an onshore ship power supply facility on the adjacent Berth 9.3, are part of current rapid capacity growth at Cuxhaven’s Cuxport where business is now concentrated on offshore component and RoRo handling.

Construction of Cuxport’s 142m long Berth 9.1 has cost €3.5 million and is on schedule for completion soon. It began last October after completion of the adjacent 156m Berth 9.2 and the115m Berth 9.3. The biggest of the other berths, Berth 9.4, is 303m long. All except Berth 9.1 stand on 10.6m of Elbe water. The new Berth 9.1 is on a shallower 7.4m.

Cuxhaven is located at the mouth of the Elbe Estuary some 90 kms downstream from Hamburg and its berths are all part of Cuxport’s increasingly important German Offshore Industry Centre.

Since it lost out to Wilhelmshaven in 2001 as the site for Germany’s first deep water container terminal, Cuxhaven has focussed mainly on offshore business and now describes itself as “the most important port site for offshore wind energy in Germany”.  Its new heavy lift berths handle wind turbine components for Siemens’ nearby €200 million wind turbine manufacturing plant.

The versatile port also retains staple Ro-Ro business and has just expanded its status as a hub for vehicle shipments to Scandinavia and Britain by extending handling contracts with BMW. Cuxport processes finished vehicles from BMW plants in Germany and Austria and claims to be in sixth place among North Sea vehicle handling ports.

Oliver Fuhljahn, Head of Automobile Logistics said Cuxport transhipped about 480,000 new vehicles in 2016 and drew attention to the port’s multi-faceted infrastructure and efficient trimodal links. He added that the opening later this year of the port’s new Berth 4 facility proved that “the potential for vehicles “has not yet been fully utilised.”

A spokeswoman for the Lower Saxony port association (NPorts) in Oldenburg, which is responsible for Cuxhaven development, told Maritime Journal that the inauguration of the €36 million deep water, multi-purpose Berth 4 had been put back until September.

Berth 4 is an extention of Cuxport’s existing Multipurpose Terminal. It comprises the 240m long Berth 4, on 14.5m of water and designed for offshore assembly vessels. In support is an adjacent new 85,000 m2 storage area, part of which is equipped for heavy loads and designed to keep pace with wind farm demands in the nearby North Sea.

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