What is a container terminal

Container terminals | The stacking artist

This is where the heart of the Port of Hamburg beats: The terminals and quayside operations are the interface between sea and land. Almost 9,000 ships are loaded and unloaded in Hamburg every year - around the clock, seven days a week. And the high-tech container terminals are without question the growth drivers among the transshipment facilities. They ensure the outstanding importance of the Port of Hamburg as a global logistics hub.

 

Technical innovations and automated work processes ensure high productivity and short idle times. Whereas before the Second World War the amount of cargo handled by a cargo ship at a Hamburg general cargo shed was around 900 tons in 24 hours, today it is around 32,000 tons at a container terminal. So it is not surprising that 98 percent of general cargo - from jeans to canned goods to tablets - now reach or leave Hamburg in a container.

 

Today the Port of Hamburg has four modern container terminals. There are also so-called universal terminals that can handle both containers and conventional general cargo and vehicles. Burchardkai was the first transshipment facility to be expanded into a container terminal in 1967. The first container bridge could handle 12 to 18 containers an hour, the modern container bridges of today can handle more than twice as much. With one lift you can move two 40-foot containers or four 20-foot containers with a total of 110 tonnes, which corresponds to the weight of 70 medium-sized cars. 30 of these giants stand alone at the HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai, half of them are so-called megaship bridges. They can be used to load and unload the largest container ships in the world. Their 74 meter long booms span container ships with a width of almost 60 meters and up to 24 rows of containers side by side.

New container cranes for Burchardkai, Photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch

The secret star among Hamburg's container terminals is located in Altenwerder, between the Süderelbe and the A7 motorway. An automatic container terminal was built here at the turn of the millennium, which then as now is pioneering in terms of technical innovations and in this form is unparalleled anywhere in the world. On the water side, semi-automatic container cranes load and unload the steel boxes. On land, driverless vehicles, so-called Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV), transport the containers between the bridges and the container warehouse as if by magic. Autonomous driving is not a vision here, it has been a reality for years. A highly developed software searches for the shortest and most efficient route based on more than 19,000 transponders in the terminal area. The battery-operated AGVs even drive independently to the charging station to fill their batteries.

AGVs in use at the CTA, Photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch

Semi-automatic container cranes, Photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch

HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort

 

Ship size: 20,000 TEU + / 400 m length +

Rows of containers by ship: 24

Draft: 15.20 m

Quay length: 1,205 m

(including 1 megaship berth)

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HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai

 

Ship size: 20,000 TEU + / 400 m length +

Rows of containers by ship: 24

Draft: 15.30 m

Quay length: 2,850 m

(including 2 megaship berths)

More information

EUROGATE Container Terminal

 

Ship size: 19,000 TEU + / 400 m length +

Rows of containers by ship: 23

Draft: 15.30 m

Quay length: 2,080 m

More information

HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder

 

Ship size: 14,000 TEU + / 370 m length +

Rows of containers by ship: 23

Draft: 15.20 m

Quay length: 1,400 m

More information

The container terminals in the Port of Hamburg are sensitive high-security areas. On the one hand, there are immense values ​​of goods here that must be protected. On the other hand, entering is dangerous, because heavy equipment is at work here: container cranes, gantry cranes, van carriers, driverless vehicles and thousands of containers form a very unique, strange world. If you don't know your way around, you can quickly get under the wheels. Therefore, even experienced employees are not allowed to stroll through the terminal area on foot. The transport is always carried out by vehicle or on excellent routes.

Nevertheless, for those curious who would like to visit one of the high-tech terminals in the Port of Hamburg, there is the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of this fascinating world.

Terminal tours

Port of Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM)

Pick lifts 6

20457 Hamburg

Germany

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www.hafen-hamburg.de

Cooperation of

Port of Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM),

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and

Hamburg Port Authority AöR

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