Harbour expansion for German Elbe port
Norway’s Yara group is the latest big foreign concern to invest in Brunsbüttel, ploughing €28 million into a new production plant in the expanding German Elbe port, writes Tom Todd.
The new plant, in Brunsbüttel’s Ostermoor harbour, has taken less than three years to build and is one of five such enterprises worldwide for the Norwegian firm. It is however billed as the biggest plant for the manufacture of AdBlue - a solution that is injected into diesel vehicles and machinery, turning NOx emissions into harmless water vapor and nitrogen.
Ostermoor Hafen is one of three harbours owned by the nearby Port of Brunsbüttel, which stands at the junction of the Kiel Canal and the Elbe Estuary. The Yara plant has been designed for an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tons which the Norwegians say is enough to remove about half a million tons of NOx emissions a year – or roughly the annual emissions of the entire road transport sector of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The new plant has a new deep sea ship loading berth in the Ostermoor Harbour and a fully automated truck loading station operating around the clock with a digitalized unmanned gate and 17,500 m3 storage tank for AdBlue.
Ostermoor Harbour was built in 1975 as a supply and waste management facility for adjacent industrial concerns which include, as well as Yara, Covestro and TOTAL Bitumen. Handling facilities for ammonia, urea, crude oil and a range of chemical products are run by the companies themselves on leased harbour sites. Yara built and financed its own Ostermoor waterside facility.
The Managing Director of Brunsbüttel Ports, Frank Schnabel, said the investment by Yara and its production expansion in Ostermoor had provided “a strong boost” to business in the region. He added that the new plant’s deep sea loading berth in particular “means that large volumes of locally produced products can be loaded onto ships and transported by ship to customers. As a result of these additional cargo volumes we expect to see further growth in the Ostermoor Harbour”, Schnabel said.
The harbour is not the only place where Brunsbüttel Ports are expanding. Just recorded in the facility’s Elbehafen is another handling first - what is described as Germany’s biggest ever LNG bunkering operation.
The Belgian hopper dredger Scheldt River, working on the Elbe, took on 85 tons of LNG from five Nauticor tanker trucks. Further bunkering operations are planned.
In 2017 the three harbours in Brunsbüttel turned round 13 million tons of cargo, a good 10% more than in the previous year.
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