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Bottlenecks on the NOK – shipbrokers sound the alarm

Caption: Störungen im viel befahrenen Nord-Ostsee-Kanal stellen eine zusätzliche Belastung der Lotsen dar (© Immens)

The German Shipbrokers’ Association is concerned about operations on the Kiel Canal (NOK) and is calling for more staff at the GDWS immediately.

The Zentralverband Deutscher Schiffsmakler e.V.(ZVDS) is sounding the alarm: delays in lock operations on the important shipping route are having a negative impact not only locally, but also internationally. “We are at a critical point in maintaining Germany’s position as a central hub in international maritime traffic,” warns ZVDS Chairman Jens B. Knudsen.

Founded in 1918, the Zentralverband Deutscher Schiffsmakler e.V. (ZVDS) is the national industry organization representing the interests of shipbrokers and liner agents in Germany. There are currently eight local broker associations throughout Germany with a total of around 220 members.

In recent months, the number of incidents caused by acute staff shortages has risen significantly. The current shortage of lock masters recently led to a temporary lock closure in Kiel-Holtenau.

This further jeopardizes the efficiency and reliability of the world’s busiest artificial waterways. “It’s five to twelve. We cannot afford for the NOK to lose its position as a fast and safe transport route any further,” warns Knudsen.

The central association is therefore calling for an immediate increase in technical staff at the GDWS. Only with a sufficient number of specialists can the fast and efficient handling of shipping traffic be guaranteed.

Maintenance work on the NOK must be accelerated

It is to be welcomed that the annual 1.5% across-the-board job reduction at the GDWS will be suspended in 2024. Regrettably, however, the annual registration of personnel quotas at the GDWS will not be made possible. This is incomprehensible in view of the increasingly ageing maritime infrastructure and is comparable to a reduction in personnel.

In addition, the ZVDS also calls for the upcoming maintenance and repair work to be accelerated and prioritized. Otherwise there is a risk of longer downtimes. “The federal government must act and provide the necessary funds,” says Knudsen.

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