Germany’s first deepwater container port kicked off operations Thursday with the arrival of a Maersk containership.
JadeWeserPort-Gesellschaften (JWP) in Wilhelmshaven is owned and operated by the terminal operator EUROGATE, with APM Terminals holding a 30 percent share.
The terminal is designed to lure the largest container vessels in operation today, most of which ply their trade on the Asia-Europe trade. German officials said at the opening of the terminal that it would complement the country’s existing ports, Hamburg and Bremerhaven.
JWP will have annual capacity for 2.7 million TEUs by the fall 2013, when a further phase of the port is scheduled to open. The port has water depth of 18 meters (roughly 59 feet).
Meanwhile, Maersk (sister company of APMT) will route two of its services to the new facility – its AE1 Asia-Europe loop and its CRX service to Central America.
The 7,450-TEU Maersk Laguna
, the first ship to call the new port, was actually only making an ad hoc call from its normal route on the Samaba service between Northern Europe and the east coast of South America.
“Port development needs generations,” said Emanuel Schiffer, chairman of the EUROGATE Group management board. “We want to create something enduring in Wilhelmshaven. The project isn’t finished as of today. It’s only just beginning.”
“The German seaports have key macroeconomic importance for Germany as an export nation,” said Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Philipp Rösler. “The JadeWeserPort as Germany’s only deep-water port will be able to handle even the biggest fully laden container vessels independently of tide movements. Apart from Rotterdam, these vessels will now also be able to call at Wilhelmshaven. As a result, Wilhelmshaven is set to become a hub for international maritime traffic.” - Eric Johnson