Excellent prospects for Cuxhaven
Interview with Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport & Chairman of the Cuxhaven district branch of the CDU
Mr Ferlemann, the 2030 Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan contains several infrastructure projects which are important for connecting Cuxhaven. What significance does it have for Cuxhaven and also for the region, that several projects (A20, B73, railway lines) are given high priority?
At a larger geographical scale, the A20 motorway will create transport links with the Benelux states, Scandinavia and the new member states of the European Union (EU). Moreover, the A20 will serve to overcome the spatial separation between Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony in the Lower Elbe region and will improve the hinterland connections of the ports and the accessibility of the relevant region. It will, in particular, reduce traffic volumes on the A1 motorway Bremen-Hamburg, which runs parallel to the projected A20, and thus provide considerable relief to the urban areas concerned. Serving as a Western bypass around Hamburg, the A20 will also reduce the burden on the transport networks in the metropolitan region of Hamburg and will contribute considerably to further stimulating the economy of the Lower Elbe region. The same applies to the B73 federal highway and the projected electrification of the railway line between Stade and Cuxhaven.
Thus, for Cuxhaven, the project has a major significance. Situated in a peripheral and almost peninsular position, Cuxhaven has so far found itself rather isolated from the large metropolitan areas. The A20 will bring us closer to them. This will enable medium-sized companies to access new sales markets and make Cuxhaven more attractive as a business location. Furthermore, with more than three million overnight stays per year, Cuxhaven is the most frequented of all German spa towns and at the same time the largest seaside health resort on the German North Sea coast. The many day trippers from Bremen, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein must also be considered. In view of this background, the economic development of Cuxhaven as a tourist location and the surrounding region depends heavily on good accessibility and, thus, on an efficient transport infrastructure. The new A20 project in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, with an Elbe crossing linking the two federal states at Glückstadt / Drochtersen, is of enormous importance for the entire North German region.
How can Cuxhaven maintain its economic efficiency and competency in offshore wind energy in light of the amended German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)? Is it still possible to expand the activities of the German Offshore Industry Center in Cuxhaven?
We in Cuxhaven are very happy with the development of the port into the German Offshore Industry Center. With the Center, we have a unique selling point. As to the economic development of Cuxhaven, especially the establishment of Siemens here in Cuxhaven will be a great asset. The decision has brought much optimism to the city. The amended EEG does not present a barrier for the Siemens factory which is presently being built here, given that the internationally active Siemens Group primarily manufactures products intended for export at the Cuxhaven site and the new regulations do not affect this business branch. The domestic market for the wind energy sector, however, will be affected by the new law. For this reason, this act needs to be evolved. It is especially important that the overall strategy of expanding to 15 gigawatts by 2030 is maintained for offshore wind energy with respect to the projected timeline for the transformation of our energy system and is not subject to further reductions. With this, the prospects of Cuxhaven continue to be excellent.
What are your views on the private use of and residential construction in the port of Cuxhaven?
I oppose allowing a private investor to take over parts of the Port of Cuxhaven, especially the Old Fishing Harbour, which is currently to be sold by NPorts. For this reason, the City of Cuxhaven has also submitted a bid in the bidding procedure. We must ensure that the port infrastructure remains in public hand. The development of commercial areas for businesses and tradesmen is to be welcomed. Residential use, however, must be prevented, since it would be an obstacle to the development of the fishery industry and the general use of the port as noise and emissions mitigation issues would have to be considered.