In order to maintain its leading position, CTB was faced with the challenge of increasing capacity from 2.6m TEU to more than 5.2m TEU. With the terminal footprint restricted, the growth could only be realised by increasing stacking density. A shift away form the straddle carrier operations was imminent.
From 2002 to 2004 various studies were completed on the new operating concept. The new concept was to be introduced step-by-step to ensure the terminal remained operational during the conversion. For this specific reason CTB placed great emphasis on its supplier being able to provide an integrated solution.
In 2004 CTB's supervisory board approved the new operating concept: automatic stacking cranes (ASCs).
The ASCs create a higher stacking density: each of the 8 blocks is 10 containers wide, 5 high and 44 TEU (330 meters) long. The terminal is unique in the world, featuring three cranes per block: the waterside and landside are each served by a small crane, with a third crane capable of passing over the smaller cranes while carrying a container.
The manual straddle carriers were maintained to feed the ASCs.
In 2013 the Port of Hamburg achieved a growth of 6.2 percent, with the container handling the principal source of growth. More significantly the Port of Hamburg succeeded in growing and gaining market share against the trend in its competing ports. Ultimately Hamburg consolidated its position as Europe's second strongest container port.
"The Port of Hamburg's throughput trend is a fine signal for Hamburg and the entire Metropolitan Region. Growth of 6.2 percent is a most impressive result, underlining the tremendous effectiveness of port and logistics companies in Germany's largest universal port," said Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing's Executive Board Member at the presentation of the Port of Hamburg's cargo handling figures for 2013.