Kiel Canal’s aging infrastructure is badly in need of refurbishment and a thorough investment program. In particular, repeated breakdowns of the 100 years old locks in Brunsbüttel and Kiel result not only in significant delays but also in complete closures of the Canal. These breakdowns are clearly a result of the locks’ age and increasing deterioration.
The unreliability of transits caused by these circumstances significantly affects the attractiveness of Kiel Canal. It also affects the competitiveness of Germany’s seaports. Such impact makes the preservation and modernisation of Kiel Canal a top priority. Key measures include the construction of a fifth lock chamber at Brunsbüttel as well as a subsequent of the existing ‘Big Lock’ chambers there and in Kiel-Holtenau. In order to utilise Kiel Canal’s potential in the best possible way, the Canal also requires thorough adaption to the increasing demands of sea traffic. Average ship sizes – length and width – are continuously increasing and make traffic handling on Kiel Canal increasingly complex. Encounters of big ships are ever more difficult to plan and often cause waiting times resulting in prolonged transit times. The ‘Eastern Section’ of Kiel Canal between Kiel and Königsförde siding therefore needs to be modernised and to be aligned the dimensions of the remaining Canal. Apart from that, the entire Canal needs deepening as well as further optimisations to its curves and sidings. Eventually it is essential to provide the competent authorities with sufficient resources, including particularly technicians and engineers. Without additional staff the realisation of a thorough Kiel Canal upgrade is far from guaranteed – even if financial resources for actual construction work are available!
Initiative Kiel-Canal e.V. works to communicate these needs and to gain political support for it on national level in Germany. It works to secure that Kiel Canal has a future – for the benefit of its customers, and for the benefit of the entire Baltic and Northern Europe region.