The Danish Coastal Authority has granted Port Esbjerg permission to deepen Grådyb – a 21.6 km long fairway stretching from the North Sea to the port.

Esbjerg gets the go-ahead for fairway deepening

Source: Port Esbjerg

Port Esbjerg said that this will strengthen its infrastructure as it prepares to become a critical infrastructure hub. The deepening will improve access for large cargo vessels, ro-ros, military ships and wind turbine vessels.

“If Port Esbjerg is to support military mobility and at the same time be an offshore wind hub, the port must be geared to receive larger vessels than today,” the port explained. “The vessels used by the European wind industry are steadily increasing in size. If the ports are to offer the necessary capacity and accommodate large offshore wind projects, vessels must be given better conditions for calling at the ports.”

In 2022, Port Esbjerg received a grant of DKK211 million (USD30.4 million) to deepen the fairway from 9.3 m to 12.8 m. The grant came from the EU infrastructure fund, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The grant also resulted in Port Esbjerg’s designation as a Ten-T port as part of the Trans-European Network.

The process had been delayed due to environmental surveys. Port Esbjerg has prepared an environmental impact report for the project, which was submitted for consultation. The report describes how the project will affect the natural environment of the area.

In order for the fairway to be sufficiently deep, up to 3,702,000 cu m of material must be dredged from the seabed. Much of this material will be used for the expansion of the port to the south. “We believe that this is a sensible solution both from a financial and an environmental point of view,” said ceo Dennis Jul Pedersen.

“This will be a game-changer for our port and position us as a critical hub for both military transports and wind turbines in the future,” he added.

The project also involves an extension of the railway and paving of large areas. Port Esbjerg expects the work to begin this autumn and to be completed next spring.