"In the Port of Hamburg, all control authorities that are relevant to the import processes must be centralised for a single window clearance." This is what Willem van der Schalk, Chairman of the Hamburg Freight Forwarders Association (VHSp), demands. The CEO of a. hartrodt has been involved in the VHSp on a voluntary basis since 2004 and was elected chairman in April 2018. He complains that the authorities are spread all over the port: "A single window would be cheaper for the customers."
Cross traffic costs time
The necessary redirections in the largest German seaport cause waiting times. Examples: The Plant Protection Office carries out phytosanitary checks on various plants (products) and monitors the trade in plant protection products at the Oberhafen. Elsewhere, the Veterinary and Import Office operates two inspection centres for products of animal origin – at Reiherdamm and Altenwerder Kirchtal. According to van der Schalk, this not only means unnecessary cross-traffic: "In addition, the possibility of increasing the service quality of the inspection authorities has not been utilized yet."
In diaologue with ministries
On important topics, the VHSp chairman is in dialogue with the state government across various ministries. In the Hamburg Senate, in addition to the Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation, these include the Ministry of Health and Consumer Protection and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy. Because van der Schalk is also involved in the discussion on how pollutant emissions can be reduced. "Economy and ecology are not contradictory," he says.
When it comes to replacing the Köhlbrand bridge which connects the port to the motorway A7, the VHSp chairman favours a tunnel instead of a new bridge as of 2030. With the start of construction of the fairway adjustment of the Elbe in July this year, this would be easier to plan: "The ever larger container ships are limited in depth, but the height remains unclear. "
Van der Schalk is eagerly awaiting the Hamburg elections in February 2020. He considers it possible that in the future a First Mayoress of the Greens may lead a coalition government in the city-state. And what else drives the VHSp chairman, you can read in his DVZ guest article.