February 10 - Angela Titzrath, chairwoman of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), has reacted with disappointment to yesterday's decision by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany that plans to dredge the River Elbe in Hamburg must be imp

Titzrath said: "Following the lengthy proceedings and in light of the stark competition between the major European ports, I would have hoped for a ruling that did not result in a further delay to the dredging of the River Elbe. It is extremely important that we and our customers are able to plan reliably. 

"We therefore expect those involved in the proceedings to eliminate the existing uncertainties as quickly as possible. The dredging of the navigation channel must take place quickly to ensure that the Port of Hamburg remains competitive."

Jens Meier, ceo of Hamburg Port Authority, was more positive and says he believes the navigation adjustments will come. "We will concentrate on the questions of possible fluctuations of the salinity of the Elbe and habitat protection impact assessment. The requirements of the additional compensation areas are to be taken into account in the planning too."

The project team responsible will be working at maximum capacity but it is too soon to give a statement on the timeframe required, Meier added.

An official statement by the port authority says that the Federal Administrative Court stated clearly that the whole planning procedure has no deficiencies and the objections from the environmental organisations concerning the water engineering measures cannot be upheld. The European Water Framework Directive has been adhered to. Only protection of the plant species, hemlock water dropwort and the substitute areas must be improved, before the measures can be implemented.