In greater detail 01/18

From Cars to Offshore

Cuxport launches operations at its berth 4 in Cuxhaven

It was a genuine dream project for Cuxhaven – and now berth 4 is finally available. It perfectly complements the capacity at the Cuxport terminal at the Europakai with its 290 metres of quay wall, 8.5 hectares of handling and storage space and its four heavy-duty blocks. Gwendolyn Dünner spoke about the major project to Holger Banik, Managing Director of Niedersachsen Ports, and Michael Reese, Joint Managing Director at Cuxport.


Mr Banik, first of all congratulations on the new berth. But it was a long journey getting to this point …
Holger Banik: (laughs) You’re absolutely right. It’s perfectly clear that berth 4 at Cuxhaven was a major construction project, even if the actual building work only took about 24 months. The effort involved in planning these kinds of projects has increased dramatically during the last few years. New stipulations from the European Commission have also created a situation where Niedersachsen Ports had to seek bids for operating the berth. In the end, the contract was awarded to Cuxport.

A berth is not exactly cheap. Who was responsible for which costs?
Holger Banik: As the port company, Niedersachsen Ports was responsible for the investments totalling EUR 36 million and building all the infrastructure. That was completed at the end of 2017.
Michael de Reese: Cuxport also invested a total figure of about EUR 8 million to construct the superstructure, that is to say, the paving work and erecting lamp posts.

What kind of potential does berth 4 offer to the business site in Cuxhaven?
Michael de Reese: The existing terminal with the berths 1-3 has already been operating at full capacity for a fairly long time. Berth 4 is now the logical continuation of the multi-purpose approach adopted by Cuxport. It offers opportunities for both project handling and the offshore wind business – and the automobile sector too.
Holger Banik: Cuxhaven has now not only developed into a particularly convenient business site, but also into the leading offshore base port on the German North Sea coast. Fresh capacity was urgently needed for this – both for processing wind turbine components and also for multi-purpose handling operations. Berth 4 safeguards the competitiveness of the port of Cuxhaven and equips it to meet future requirements.

What makes the berth so special and how does it complement the other areas and berths at the port?
Michael de Reese: Berth 4 is particularly able to handle heavy loads because of its heavy-duty storage areas. The four heavy-duty blocks on the quay wall can withstand up to 20 tonnes per square metre. Large vessels with a draught of up to 14.30 metres, including construction vessels for the offshore wind parks, can also berth there thanks to the deep shipping channel.
Holger Banik: Berth 4 is another important component in the success of the seaport at Cuxhaven. The area is directly linked to berths 1-3 at the Cuxport terminal. We’re therefore sending a clear signal from the Cuxhaven site: our ports in Lower Saxony are efficient and it’s worthwhile setting up in business at our base or using our facilities to manage handling operations.

Mr Banik, how did the building work go?
Holger Banik: Thanks to the excellent preliminary planning work and the fact that we were able to work through the major issues in advance, the actual building project went smoothly. We were particularly delighted that we were not only able to keep within the time frame and budget, but also complete the work without any accidents.

What will happen after berth 4 has been opened, Mr de Reese?
Michael de Reese: We’re expecting our first customer at the new berth at some stage after the middle of 2018. The project involves handling and storing foundation parts for offshore wind turbines from Spain, which will be used in the North Sea. The ability of the berth and the complete terminal to handle heavy loads is important here. Other projects are already in the pipeline too for we’ve been waiting for this berth for a long time and it’s urgently needed.

The planning work for further berths is already going ahead. When do you hope to complete them?
Holger Banik: We’re currently working on the documents for the planning procedure. Once we receive permission, the planning work will take several years. Then we’ll face challenges like the investments and also seeking bids for operating the facilities. As you can see, it takes some time to build a new berth. That’s why it’s particularly important to look ahead and plan according to needs. The potential for berths 5-7 is definitely available.
Michael de Reese: We can see a need for capacity in the medium term, which is backed up by increases in handling forecasts. It’s then a good thing if the plans can be completed quickly, if necessary.

What insights have you gained from the berth 4 project for the future?
Holger Banik: When constructing berth 4, we had to grapple with the new European legal regulations on state subsidies for the first time. This kind of experience will naturally be included in our future projects. Our expertise therefore increases with each project that we complete.
Michael de Reese: We’ve now managed to cope with dealing with the bids for tenders in line with European law. First of all, that’s something that we can use going forward. In addition, the positive feedback from our customers and the public make it clear that Cuxhaven as a business site and the Cuxport terminal will be permanent features in the market of the future too.

Holger Banik, business graduate
2007Bremer Hafenmanagement-Gesellschaft bremenports
2011Commercial Manager, bremenports
2014Spokesman for the Management Board at Niedersachsen Ports (commercial and administrative areas) and Managing Director of JadeWeserPort Realisierungs GmbH & Co. KG
Michael de Reese, mechanical engineer
2001Rhenus Midgard
2005Moved to the business site in Cuxhaven
2011Promoted to become joint managing director at Cuxport

The port of Cuxhaven

Der Hafen Cuxhaven

A- The Cuxport terminal
Site: Europakai
Berths: 1–4
Equipment: railway sidings, a covered handling and storage terminal, 3 ramp sections for handling rolling cargo
Space: 33 hectares in all, including 4 heavy-duty blocks, connection to the heavy-duty road

B- The Cuxhaven offshore base
Site: in the south-east part of the port
Berths: 8, 9.1–4
Equipment: 1 ramp section for rolling cargo, a gantry craneSpace: 26.8 hectares in all, including 3 heavy-duty areas, connection to the heavy-duty road 

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