The Managing Director of a. hartrodt Germany in Hamburg, Willem van der Schalk, has been elected to the plenum of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce for the legislative period 2020 to 2024. After six years as an active plenary member, the 64-year-old is thus continuing his honorary commitment in the third legislative period. "Regardless of the quarrels over the position of President at the head of the Chamber of Commerce, we have done stable and solid work in the committees," notes van der Schalk as Chairman of the Committee on Ports and Shipping. His objective: to "continue the present direction".
Port important for prosperity in Hamburg
"Port must remain port," van der Schalk clarifies. With up to 165,000 direct and indirect employees, the port is very important for the prosperity of the Free and Hanseatic City. For this reason, van der Schalk calls for a responsible approach to open spaces: "The port must no longer be sacrificed for the benefit of housing". The signs are pointing to growth: In 2019, container handling at the Elbe reached 9.3 million TEUs – 6.1 percent more than in the previous year.
Fairway adjustment in view
As a plenum member, van der Schalk actively represents the interests of the port in the Chamber of Commerce. In expanding of the fairway adjustment of the Elbe, he has in mind that the meeting box for ships will be widened on Hamburg territory by the middle of the year. While 21,000 TEU ships are already being handled in Hamburg today, the port expects the first 24,000 TEU vessel to arrive in May. When it comes to replacing the Köhlbrand bridge, which connects the port to the A7 motorway, van der Schalk favours a tunnel as of 2030: "That is more sustainable than a new bridge. He also urges the rapid realization of the A26 motorway as a link between the A1 and A7.
The Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of around 160,000 companies in politics and administration. Following the elections to the Hamburg state parliament last Sunday, van der Schalk is "confident that cooperation with the newly elected Senate will continue to be as constructive as in previous years."