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Niedersachsen's 21st Ports Day highlights renewable energy opportunities

September 6 - Representatives from both the public and private sector voiced their optimism about the opportunities which will be presented to ports and businesses in the German Lower Saxony region from the growth in the country's focus on and investment

Jörg Bode, Minister of Economy, Labour and Transport for Lower Saxony, welcomed the new optimism in the port industry: "Here in Cuxhaven, you can see examples of what is true for the whole of the North alike. The German coast has a great future." Bode said the region's seaports are one of the most important economic factors in the coastal region of Lower Saxony with around 41,000 employees.

The turn against nuclear power would deliver greater opportunities for Lower Saxony than it had had for a long time. The federal state has the right conditions for the early development of renewable energies, particularly wind energy created in the sector. "This will bring a tremendous boost for our coast," said Bode. In general, the Lower Saxony state government is investing specifically in the port infrastructure, for example Bode highlighted action in the ports of Brake (around EUR23 million by 2012), Emden (about EUR90 million through to 2013) and Wilhelmshaven (around EUR30 million by the end of 2011). In Cuxhaven the offshore base port will continue to expand.

The minister commented in his speech on the importance of the efficient hinterland connections of seaports in Lower Saxony, referring to the so-called "Ahrensburger list", an association of the North German states agreed on a set of urgent transport infrastructure developments. He said that as hubs for the export-oriented German economy, the seaports were playing an important role for the entire country.

Andreas Bullwinkel, from Seaports of Niedersachsen, noted in his welcoming speech that the issue of offshore wind energy for the seaports increasingly gaining in importance. The structures for production, logistics and support services for the wind energy industry had long been present in Lower Saxony. All efforts must now focus on convincing the industry to use those capacities instead of waiting for the construction of new structures.

Mayor Arno Stabbert as chief representative of the host site Cuxhaven was pleased, given the large number of guests who had come to Ports Day in the Elbe estuary. He explained that Cuxhaven had undergone significant structural change and is now considered a major transhipment port for ro-ro traffic, and for handling general cargo, including project cargoes.

The guest speaker at this year's Ports Day, Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rethmann Group, outlined in his keynote address the developments and investments in port logistics being made by group subsidiary, Rhenus AG & Co. KG and announced a new business for Cuxhaven in wind energy.

He reported on a new deal at Cuxhaven, where the offshore specialist Offshore Marine Services (OMS) has agreed with the port operator Cuxport to use 12,000 sq m at Cuxhaven Steubenhöft terminal, as an operational base for the service and maintenance of wind farms equipment used in the North Sea. 

Numerous representatives from business, politics, government and the media gathered on for Seaports of Niedersachsen's 21st Ports Day in Cuxhaven to discuss the past and future developments of the port transport industry in Lower Saxony. 

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