29th Lower Saxony Port Day
Lower Saxony Seaports are ready for coming challenges
For the 29th time, on 23 August, roughly 350 participants from business, politics and government met at the Lower Saxony Port Day to discuss future developments and challenges. This year the event took place at the navy base in Wilhelmshaven and the central topics were digital change and Brexit.
In his speech, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economics Dr. Bernd Althusmann emphasized the importance of digitization for shipping and for Lower Saxon seaports. Even at this early stage, digital change has had enormous effects on these sectors and is, therefore, one of the most important future topics. For this reason, ports should obtain broadband connections and comprehensive 4G coverage in the course of the 2022 Digitization Master Plan.
Timo A. Schön, managing director of the port marketing association Seaports of Lower Saxony, emphasized that ports are also ready for the future in other areas: “The Lower Saxon seaports are flexible and broadly positioned in order to be ready for upcoming challenges. A good example is Brexit: from the beginning, we assumed a worst case scenario and we undertook the appropriate precautions.“
In this regard, for example, the port of Cuxhaven expanded its storage capacities so that there is enough room in exceptional circumstances for goods which are held up longer in customs processing. The unescorted traffics are a great advantage for Cuxhaven in this respect. “Since seaborne trailer and container traffic through Cuxhaven is unescorted, we don’t expect queues and backups. In problematic cases local terminal employee can support the exporter in solving unexpected difficulties; in this way, such problems can be resolved prior to the vessel’s departure. The drivers and tractor don’t need to wait, so these can depart the port immediately after delivering the trailer or container and also there is no impact to other cargo,” said Hans-Peter Zint, Chairman of the Cuxhaven Port Association. Together with new software for electronic data exchanges with the customs office and comprehensive trainings of employees, Cuxhaven is therefore ideally prepared for any Brexit outcome.
The Port Day is traditionally also an occasion to discuss the current developments in Lower Saxony’s seaports. These were able to ship roughly 27 million tons of seagoing cargo in the first half of 2019; in this way they registered a growth of roughly 7% vis-à-vis the prior year period. The seaports of Lower Saxony have shown that they are storm-ready in uncertain times.