Serviceability of Kiel Canal’s large locks now restored

16 Dec 2015 12:00 Shipping News

With the taking into service of the large South chamber in Brunsbüttel, ship traffic in the Kiel Canal (NOK) now once again has four fully functioning large lock chambers available at both ends of the canal. The urgently required repairs on the gate rails in Brunsbüttel have been completed this year according to plan.
Prof Dr Hans-Heinrich Witte, President of the Federal Waterways and Shipping authority: “In difficult conditions – involving collisions with gates and unforeseen repair works – we have succeeded in restoring the availability of the international waterway. I am delighted that with four large lock chambers repaired, the Kiel Canal is now well placed to handle increasingly large vessels. The tremendous expertise and commitment of WSV staff have played a crucial part here. ”
Despite serious collisions, essential repair works, on rail systems for example, lower fuel prices and the embargo on Russia, the Kiel Canal has forfeited none of its attraction in 2015. The canal remains an indispensable link between German North Sea ports and the thriving Baltic region. Forecasts indicate that despite tougher conditions, statistically we can look back on what was undoubtedly a positive year in 2015.
Prof Dr Hans-Heinrich Witte: “We are assuming that very probably around 90 million tons of cargo will have been transported this year through the Kiel Canal, with the number of ships using the canal only insignificantly lower.
This has gone to prove once more that we are catering for shipping’s requirements and keeping our word. Where infrastructure is concerned, therefore, nothing stands in the way of a strong year on the Kiel Canal in 2016.”
Verified traffic statistics, background reports and explanations for the year 2015 will be published in NOK’s annual report in mid-January 2016.  Only then will it be possible to draw reliable conclusions for NOK.
With the elimination of vulnerable points in the rail systems of the locks, all the large lock chambers on the Kiel Canal are again fully operational. That means improved planning certainty and reliability for shipping.

In 2013 shipping in the Kiel Canal was affected by strikes, ship collisions and unscheduled repairs.
This still applied in 2014, because urgently required repair work on the gate rails of the large lock chambers in Kiel-Holtenau and Brunsbüttel meant that as planned, specific lock chambers had to be taken out of service at times.
With the completion of work on the large South chamber in Brunsbüttel these repairs were finished in December 2015.
A scheme for renewing the small chambers in Kiel-Holtenau is currently being coordinated with the German Ministry of Transport. Its implementation is essential for the renovation of the big locks in Kiel-Holtenau and essential for restoring the sustained serviceability of the lock complex there.


High Season at Kiel Canal

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