• 2018 September 26

    Lutz Michael Birke, Member of the Management Board, Port of Hamburg

    - Do the sanctions impact the turnover of Russia’s foreign trade cargo at the Port of Hamburg?

    - We hope that transshipment of Russia’s foreign trade cargo via the Port of Hamburg will not decrease but grow in the year of 2018. Previous years, after the sanctions were imposed, showed a fall by a half. So, of course, there is an impact of sanctions on the amount of Russian cargo transshipped. We hope that the sanctions will be lifted sooner or later and that cargo turnover will not decrease any more despite of them. Russia is a very important partner, not only for Hamburg but also for the entire North Europe.

    - Hamburg is an innovative port widely applying the latest technologies. Do you cooperate with the companies of Big Port St. Petersburg in technological sphere?

    - Throughout the recent four years I have been taking part in seminars organized by the ports of Hamburg and Saint-Petersburg to focus on digitization and new technologies in port activities. And I see good prospects for cooperation between our ports in this sphere, particularly for conciliation of our information systems and for experience exchange. In Saint-Petersburg, I tell about the Smart Port of Hamburg project based on digitization of processes. It is already being introduced in reality and I’m absolutely sure that the companies of Saint-Petersburg port also have lots of opportunities in this respect.

    - Is there a problem of reducing hazardous emissions from ships in the Baltic region? How is this challenge met at the Port of Hamburg and what opportunities for Saint-Petersburg do you see here?

    - The Port of Hamburg, just like the Port of Saint-Petersburg, is located in the city center and the issue of hazardous emissions is very important for us. We introduce new technologies, invest in compliant systems so that vessels entering the port could stop their engines and connect to onshore infrastructure powered by liquefied natural gas. We also offer financial incentives for those using more environmentally friendly fuels. Diesel fuel is more extensively used by vessels today but there is a difference between EU and Russian laws when it comes to permitted level of emissions from ships. I think we should work towards approximation of laws in this sphere and towards improvement of international norms.

    We are among the first ports to start offering discounts on port dues for vessels running on environmentally friendly types of fuel. 

    Interviewed by Vitaly Chernov

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