April 10 - The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, der Unternehmensverband Hafen Hamburg (UVHH), Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) and der Verband Stra

Around 25 million tonnes of heavy cargoes per year transit Hamburg, a large amount of which have their destination or source in the Port of Hamburg. The port with its multipurpose terminals is of great importance for the transshipment of conventional general cargoes, stressed the four commercial bodies.

The operational parameters for high-volume and heavy goods shipments into the Port of Hamburg are in need of sustained improvement through efficient infrastructure and lean authorisation procedures.

"Three out of four machines manufactured in Germany go [to Hamburg] for export, and it is therefore essential to secure the access to main traffic routes and overseas ports," said Fritz Horst Melsheimer, president of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

VSH chairman Thomas Usinger appealed to the authorities to devote more attention to the load capacity of roads and bridges. Static calculations have shown that the bridge is no longer up to handling today's loads, so that restrictions affecting heavy goods traffic have had to be imposed.

Melsheimer continued: "Since these cargoes - machine and plant elements, for instance - are of immense importance for the Port of Hamburg, any restrictions on bridge structures make a direct impact on port throughput."

Should no sustained improvement in the situation occur, warned Melsheimer, there was a risk that the project cargo which is so important to Hamburg would in the future be loaded at competing ports.

The UVHH appealed to central government and the federal states to put these bridges in order as rapidly as possible.

The four commercial bodies have joined representatives from the Hamburg administration to set up a 'round table' covering the transport of high-volume and heavy cargoes, which is designed to promote a regular exchange of experience and lead to improvements.