Offshore hub Cuxhaven adds new berths
The rapidly expanding German Bight port of Cuxhaven has put two more offshore-oriented ship handling berths into operation, started expansion work on another and remains on track to complete a big combined berth and multi-purpose handling facility next year.
The offshore Berth 9.2 has just been completed to follow Berth 9.3, inaugurated in August. Ramming for the heavy-lift Berth 9.1 began in October. All three berths are part of Lower Saxony’s giant German Offshore Industry Centre at Cuxhaven.
The Centre facilities, directly on Elbe Estuary water depths of up to11.6m, have been in development and under constant expansion since about 2007 at an investment cost put by some at €600 million. Niedersachsen Ports (NPorts), which owns and operates Cuxhaven Port, says the Centre is already a big success and that Cuxhaven’s location, on the German Bight some 100 kms downstream from Hamburg, is ideal for North Sea wind farm erection and maintenance.
The Offshore Centre’s Berth 9 quayside terminal was created between 2010 and 2012 and its facilities are now being adapted to cope with new conditions and demands from offshore shipping.
Berth 9.2 needed resurfacing and some 40,000 m2 were reinforced at a cost of €600,000. The project involved 10,000 tons of new material and 30,000 tons of recycled gravel.
As the resurfacing was completed at Berth 9.2, work began on the €3.5 million expansion of Berth 9.1 to meet increasing heavy demands on Offshore Centre facilities. NPorts said that expansion project, creating a 142m long heavy load quay on 7.4m of water, will be finished by April next year.
In August NPorts put the Offshore Industry Centre’s new new €9.5 million heavy lift Ro-Ro Berth 9.3 into operation. Its fixed ramp is115m long and 55m wide and specifically designed for heavy project loads of more than 1,000 tons.
Berth 9.3 was built to handle shipments of wind turbine components produced at the nearby Siemens site. That €200 million facility, located directly on the Elbe, covers 170,000 m2 and is the first such plant in Germany for Siemens.
On target for completion next May – but not this year as originally planned - is Cuxhaven’s new deepwater Berth 4 and adjacent multi-purpose terminal.
The facility, costing €36 million, comprises a 240m berth for ships drawing up to 14.5m. The berth is supported by handling areas totalling 85,000 m2 run by port operator Cuxport.
Berth 4 will also be very important for the Offshore Industry Centre and be capable of handling heavy-lift shipments and offshore components. But it will also handle many other products.
Up to 320,000 German vehicles are exported via Cuxhaven every year and the port also ships steel, paper, building materials, timber and project loads delivered by rail.
By Tom Todd
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