Hamburg is extremely efficient in handling ships and barges and cargo transport via inland waterways is one of the strengths of Germany’s biggest seaport. Along with feeder, truck and rail connections, inland waterways provide an attractive alternative for transporting bulk and dangerous cargo, and increasingly for containers, as well. T
he Port of Hamburg regained its natural hinterland with the reunification of Germany, so now barge traffic on the middle and upper Elbe River to destinations like Magdeburg, Aken, Torgau, Riesa, Dresden and even as far as Děčín, Ústí and Lovosice in the Czech Republic is increasing.
Along the Lower Elbe, barges call at ports like Brunsbüttel, Cuxhaven and Glückstadt. The Elbeseitenkanal and the connection via the Midland Canal to cities like Brunswick; Haldersleben, and Hanover, as well as the Kiel Canal, are very important for the Port of Hamburg’s barge traffic.
Cargo is also regularly transported to Berlin by way of inland waterways. Furthermore, barges play an increasingly important role in transporting cargo within the Port of Hamburg itself. Barge transport is generally cheaper and better for the environment than road or rail transports. The high transport capacity of inland waterways also makes them very reliable.