Overdue dredging for border port

Approach channel work off Ueckermunde's Industriehafen Approach channel work off Ueckermunde's Industriehafen

Long overdue dredging has taken place in the approaches to the German Baltic port of Ueckermünde-Berndshof close to the border with Poland to enable the small facility to maintain its commercial handling viability, reports Tom Todd.

Viola Hackenbeck at the German federal waterways and shipping office (WSA) in nearby Stralsund told Maritime Journal 100,000 m3 were dredged in the approaches from the Szczecin Lagoon to the port’s Industriehafen in work which has lasted from November to this February. There were also reports that the approach channel and parts of the River Uecker in nearby Ueckermünde itself had also or were to be dredged.

Hackenbeck described the operation as routine maintenance to restore stipulated approach channel 4.5m chart depth – apparently by removing accumulated silt. She said the dredged materials had been deposited on land at sites in nearby Berndshof and Kamig. Utilisation of the material as sand for nearby beaches, which local authorities would reportedly have liked, was not possible because of high organic and nutrient concentrations, Hackenbeck told this correspondent.

The WSA spokeswoman noted that the last dredging of this kind had been carried out in 1999. But both she and Heiko Haacker, Managing Director of the Industriehafen’s handling company, stressed that the latest project had not involved deepening or widening of the approaches.

It was directed jointly by the WSA and local German authorities and carried out by Colcrete von Essen Wasserbau and Deutsch Dänische Wasserbau. It involved the 40m backhoe hopper dredger Camilla H øj and the pontoon Wien as well as the 26.2m scourer and pumping station Veluwe Høj and the barges Karin Høj, EH2 and Tender Høj.

The Sczecin Lagoon is an inland bay in the Oder Estuary straddling the Germany-Poland border and linked to the Baltic Sea via Germany’s Peenemünde and the Poland’s port of Swinoujscie.

The original approach channel to the Industriehafen Ueckermünde-Berndshof was dredged to a fairway depth of 3.9m in 1996. The port has been developed into a modern cargo handling centre with direct links to the German inland waterway system via the Peene and Oder rivers and also has bridge- and lock-free connections to the Baltic.

The north-south open wet dock boasts two 135m berths and a 140m berth developed in 2003 for lumber and timber.The port has all the facilities and equipment of a modern cargo handling centre, including mobile cranes, loaders and fork-lifts and about 17.000m2 of storage space. It handles an average of 200,000 tons a year – most of it fertiliser and pig metal but other cargo includes coke, lime and paving stones.

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