Container Terminal 4 in Bremerhaven celebrates its 10th anniversary

Deepening the Outer Weser is imperative for belonging to the “Champions League of ports” on the long term

Container Terminal 4 in Bremerhaven celebrates its 10th anniversary

It’s been 10 years since Container Terminal 4 was completed in a record-breaking construction time and cost significantly less than calculated. “At this construction site, everything fit together,” said Jürgen Holtermann, former Managing Director of bremenports at the opening in 2008. Thus, from the calculated total costs of EUR 440 million, around 10 per cent could be saved in the end.

9 million cubic meters of sand were used. 37,000 tonnes of steel were added to the structure. The result is 1,681 meters of new quay, 90 hectares of harbor area and a state-of-the-art CT terminal for fast and flexible handling of trains. It is no wonder that the Jens Böhrnsen, then President of the Bremen Senate, was enthusing about the state of Bremen being “in the Champions League of Ports”.

The design of the CT 4 basically corresponds to the design that had been specified with the CT 1, 40 years ago. And that, even though the ships that moor at the quay have changed dramatically. While the first-generation container ships still had a length of 180 meters, a draft of 9 meters and space for 1,000 TEU, today’s Triple E classes carry more than 13,000 containers, drafts to 16 meters and are 400 meters long.

Against this background, the expansion of the harbor railway in recent years has created the prerequisite for 50 per cent of containers going inland to travel by rail. “With this, Bremerhaven has further strengthened its position as a leading European railway port,” says bremenports Managing Director Robert Howe.

The container terminal Bremerhaven went into operation in the spring of 1971, just five years after the first container in Germany had been unloaded in Bremen’s overseas port. But the container traffic area quickly became too small in view of the success of the new transport system. Therefore, the riverside quay was extended by 570 meters to the south towards the north lock in 1978 in a first stage of expansion. The northern extension then started in 1983 with the CT 2. CT 3 was launched in the late 1990s and CT 3a followed in 2003. Thus, the quay length grew to 3,200 meters, where 10 berths were available.

The closely cooperating cargo handling companies make a major contribution to the success story of the container terminal Bremerhaven. The Eurogate Container Terminal is a common-user terminal that is open to all ship-handling companies. The NTB North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven, located at the north of the container port, is a dedicated terminal for the world’s largest shipping company Maersk Line. MSC Gate Bremerhaven is situated at the southern tip of the terminal. MSC Gate Bremerhaven is a joint venture with the second largest shipping company in the world. The three transshipment facilities merge seamlessly with each other so that container transports are easily possible.

Today’s senator for economy, work and ports, Martin Günthner, sees the container terminal Bremerhaven well prepared for the future. However, it was necessary to work continuously on the port’s traffic connections. At the top of the to-do list for the politician is the deepening of the Außenweser/Outer Weser, a project that has been stuck in the protracted planning and approval process since the construction of the CT 4. Because, as he affirms: “Not only in sports is the truism: who wants to play permanently Champions League, must invest continuously.”