“Potential that needs to be exploited”
Interview with Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport
Mr Ferlemann, the expansion of infrastructure is an issue that is the focus of public attention throughout Germany at the moment. How important is the development of the port of Cuxhaven in your view?
There are naturally many projects that have high priority in regional or even national terms – but it is also clear that not all the projects can be introduced at the same time. Despite this, the expansion of the port of Cuxhaven is very important, both for Cuxhaven as an offshore base port and a business site in general. The Social Democrat/Green state government is currently taking far too much time to implement this project.
What significance does the upgrading of connections to the hinterland have for seaports?
It’s extremely important! The study published by the IHK Nord (Northern Chamber of Industry and Commerce) in May confirms this. It shows that the development of foreign trade and the Northern German seaports is not only relevant to the regions directly adjacent to the ports but to Germany as a whole. Therefore, the links from the ports to the hinterland have to function well so that we do not lose any consignments to the ZARA ports or those in the Mediterranean. I believe that the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan already takes into account these infrastructure measures to a great degree. The next step will involve adapting and reforming the planning permission regulations so that projects can be introduced faster.
You were recently re-elected as district chairman by the CDU Elbe-Weser regional association. Which issues or projects are at the top of your priority list in 2015 – also in your regional position?
As the district chairman, I’ve already said that the construction work on the A20 coastal motorway should be included in the “urgent requirements” list in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. The construction of this motorway together with the A26 and B73 projects are my top priorities this year.
The construction work on berth 4 and the closure of the gap between berths 5 and 7 need to move ahead as well. I’d also like to campaign for the electrification of the Cuxhaven-Stade railway line.
According to the 2030 Seaport Transport Forecast, the amount of goods handled at the port of Cuxhaven will increase by 3.3 percent per annum – this development needs to be urgently backed by an expansion of the port facilities, or it will soon reach its capacity limit. The port of Cuxhaven is not only an offshore base port but also provides ideal potential in the general port sector and this needs to be fully exploited.