Efficient Coordination of Mega-ship Calls Now to Happen Around the Clock

10 Nov 2015 11:16 Shipping News

The Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC) has taken care of the centralized operational coordination of mega-ship calls since October 2014. It represents a unique selling proposition of the Port of Hamburg. Following a successful first year in operation, NTC staff will be working in three shifts from now on. The extended operating hours will allow the NTC’s customers to make use of its services 24 hours a day. This will further increase NTC’s benefit for its customers and the Port of Hamburg.
The NTC was founded by Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and EUROGATE in October 2014. It supports port operators, shipping companies and authorities in smoothly handling the ever-increasing number of ultra large vessels in the Port of Hamburg. These include not only container ships, but also cruise ships and bulk carriers. The new around-the-clock service will be a great advantage to NTC customers as they will have access to a contact person at all times, day or night. This is particularly significant because the container terminals and other loading centres also operate 24 hours a day.
With the processing up the estuary of ultra-large vessels in mind, staff in the NTC monitor the knock-on effects that occur when other ships are arriving or departing. They do this for the entire duration of the ship’s approach in Northern Europe and its handling operations in the Port of Hamburg. They identify potential conflict situations at a very early stage and can reduce the impact on the entire port system. Working closely with the Hamburg Vessel Traffic Service Centre, the NTC’s duties include cross-terminal coordination of the preliminary planning, approach guidance and departure planning of mega-ships in the Port of Hamburg.
The NTC’s first customers were the four container terminals in Hamburg and Hansaport, followed shortly afterwards by Unikai. More recently, the NTC acquired the shipyard Blohm + Voss as another partner. As the sole stakeholder, the NTC has a complete operational overview of handling operations for mega-ships. This means that it can now also take charge of coordinating communications between the terminal operators and the Vessel Traffic Service Centre on behalf of the terminals. In the meantime, some important shipping customers of the Port of Hamburg have also started to use the NTC’s service. As a result, the bigger part of mega-ship traffic in the Port of Hamburg is coordinated by the NTC.
Before now, the NTC was part of the Feeder Logistics Center (FLC), which is in charge of coordinating feeder ship calls at the Port of Hamburg. In order to pool the extensive range of services offered by the FLC and NTC, the HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center was established on 1 November 2015. Since then, the FLC and the NTC have been departments of the HVCC.
The range of services offered by the HVCC is to be expanded further in the coming months. Talks in this regard are currently taking place with other loading centres, service providers at the Port of Hamburg and various inland waterway shipping companies. The english version of the new website www.hvcc-hamburg.de will also be launched shortly.
Heinrich Goller, Managing Director of the HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center, explains the benefits of 24-hour operations: “Since we started using three-shift operations with our employees, we have been able to offer our services around the clock in coordinating megaship calls. This puts us in an even much better position than before to identify potential bottleneck situations at an early stage and make operational proposals to our partners. This, in turn, enhances the attractiveness of our services, as it increases reliability. The large number of new partners that we have acquired for the NTC’s coordination service for mega-ships shows that our services have filled a gap.”
HHLA Executive Board member Dr. Stefan Behn emphasises the importance of the HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center: “The HVCC, with its FLC and NTC departments, represents a unique selling proposition of the Port of Hamburg. Its work makes sense and is also necessary, irrespective of the impending judgement regarding the dredging of the navigation channel of the river Elbe. It is based on the premise that all of the stakeholders can only overcome the challenges in the Port of Hamburg by working together. They selectively put aside some of their own individual interests for the benefit of the overall system. This enables the entire port system to operate more smoothly.”
Peter Zielinski, Managing Director of EUROGATE Container Terminal Hamburg GmbH, expresses his satisfaction with the HVCC’s work: “The number of mega-ships calling at the Port of Hamburg is rising continously. In this context the HVCC is taking on an importent function for all involved. The more partners there are that use the HVCC’s services, the more effectively we can coordinate mega-ship calls. For us as a terminal operator, it is especially advantageous that the HVCC has now also taken charge of the entire communication process with the Vessel Traffic Service Centre.”


The Nautical Terminal Coordination is now taking care of the centralised operational coordination of mega-ship calls in the Port of Hamburg 24 hours a day.

Press contact

Karl Olaf Petters, HHLA
Phone +49 (0)40 3088-3521

Corinna Romke, EUROGATE
Head of Corporate Communications
Phone +49 (0)421 1425-3803