Adjustment of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe: River Passage

Adjustment of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe: River Passage

Elbe pilotage waters 

  • Stretches a total of 145 kilometres/76 nautical miles from the port boundary to the Elbe estuary
  • Seagoing vessels sail with pilots on board throughout this area
  • Pilots advise along the entire route
  • Pilotage costs are based on gt (gross tonnage)
  • A berthing licence must be with the Nautische Zentrale (Vessel Traffic Centre)  24 hours before arrival in port
  • Pilots are mandatory for:
    • all vessels over 90 metres long and/or 13 metres wide
    • tankers
    • any pushed or towed train of seagoing vessels with a length of over 90 metres and/or a max width of 13 metres
    • vessels up to 170 metres in length and with a draft below 8.50 metres may be exempted from the obligation to take on pilots


Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC)

The number of ultra-large vessels (ULV) calling the Port of Hamburg has been rising for years. These consist not only of containerships, but also bulkers and cruise ships. Such ships have a length of over 330 metres and/or a width of over 45 metres. With the Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC), the Port of Hamburg possesses a facility addressing central operational coordination of calls by ULVs – long before these reach the Elbe pilotage waters. On approach, the progress of some vessels is even monitored from Gibraltar onwards.

NTC’s tasks include cross-terminal operational coordination of prior planning, of approach control and of the departure planning for large vessels in the Port of Hamburg. The overall operational overview is coordinated 24/7 by the NTC as the central interface with the Nautische Zentrale (Vessel Traffic Centre) in Hamburg and the Elbe pilots. This involves combining communication channels and timely detection of side-effects of decisions relating to ULV clearance. Conflict situations are already spotted during the approach up the river and wherever possible eliminated. The goal is optimal traffic control on the Elbe and relief for the Nautische Zentrale (Vessel Traffic Centre).


    • Monitoring area by NTC
    • Monitoring area by NTC

Downloads & Movies