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Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center

Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center Accelerates Advances in Terminal Management with Real-Time AIS

Germany’s largest seaport delivers 24x7 access to real-time ship tracking, enables precise scheduling of vessels and terminal operations, and maximizes use of port infrastructure to boost productivity and control costs.

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  • Simplify information sharing to support one of the world’s busiest seaports, managing approximately 10,000 ship calls per year
  • Reduce duplicate communications and the need for repetitive manual data entry


IHS Maritime & Trade with IHS AISLive


  • Delivers 24x7 access to real-time ship tracking
  • Enables more precise coastal scheduling of vessels and planning of terminal operations
  • Maximizes use of existing infrastructure within the port’s geographic conditions in order to boost productivity and avoid added costs
  • Strengthens the terminal’s competitiveness by driving efficiencies that generate time/cost savings for both customers and partners

HVCC Accelerates Advances in Port Management with AIS

Major seaports around the globe are constantly competing with each other for business. The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest seaport and one of the busiest ports in Europe in terms of throughput1, managing approximately 10,000 ship calls per year2. Founded in November 2015 by Hamburg based Terminal Operators, the HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center GmbH is dedicated to driving continued advances in customer service and operational efficiency throughout the port. One of the HVCC leadership team’s highest priorities has been implementation of a comprehensive coordination IT-platform, with a state-of-the-art Automatic Identification System (AIS) capable of tracking vessels in real time across Europe. With this new platform, the HVCC are saving customers time and money and gaining further competitive edge.

Developing a Unified Strategy, Selecting the Right Solution

The HVCC is a joint venture founded by Hamburger Hafen and Logistik AG (HHLA) and EUROGATE Container Terminal Hamburg GmbH, two major container terminal operators in the Port of Hamburg. Inside the HVCC, its Feeder Logistics Center and Nautical Terminal Coordination teams work together to save time, reduce duplication of effort and eliminate costly backlogs by serving as the central and neutral point of contact for carriers, authorities, pilots, tugs, boatman, terminals and other interests.

Historically, ships arriving at international ports and rotating between several terminals within the port were required to initiate a series of communications to various service providers and public authorities.

The result was often a spider web of duplicate messages and time delay in transmitting information between the different parties that did not support the dynamics of the shipping and terminal businesses.

HVCC leaders were determined to drive innovations in open communication procedures, coupled with real-time ship tracking and identification that would enable terminal operators to streamline workflows and maximize use of port infrastructure by synchronizing terminal operations, carriers schedules and traffic situations on the River Elbe for even more efficient vessel operations. To achieve these goals, the HVCC needed a tailor-made software solution that would include an automated, integrated AIS-information system.

After evaluating leading vendors and their proposals, the HVCC team selected and successfully implemented a new vessel coordination and information platform in cooperation with DAKOSY — powered by real-time data from AISLive™, an IHS Markit solution. This new resource would provide ready access to accurate, timely AIS data while eliminating duplicate communications and the risk of manual data errors.

Managing Geographic Limits, Bigger Ships

As a tidal river port, Hamburg has always faced the geographic challenge of ensuring that large ships can safely enter the River Elbe navigation channel. The recent global trend towards bigger and bigger ships has made effective planning and coordination more important than ever, to optimize each vessel’s port of call and maximize use of terminal infrastructure. Since 2008, the number of Ultra Large Vessels (ULV) on the River Elbe has risen to more than five movements of ULVs on the river every day – an increase of approximately 60 percent.

The Port of Hamburg is able to accommodate the latest generation of container vessels while taking nautical conditions into consideration. By providing reliable, real-time AIS data from IHS Markit to our operational team, we enable consistent coordination of ships of any size, starting long before their passage on the River Elbe.

Heinrich Goller
Managing Director, Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC)

“The Port of Hamburg is able to accommodate the latest generation of container vessels while taking nautical conditions into consideration,” said Heinrich Goller, Managing Director of HVCC. “By providing reliable, real-time AIS data from IHS Markit to our operational team, we enable consistent coordination of ships of any sizes, starting long before the passage of the vessels on the River Elbe.”

The HVCC may track up to 60 ocean vessels simultaneously and monitors for the first time the approach of inland barges far from their hinterland origin. Ready access to AIS data enables managers to monitor arrival and departure times long before ships arrive in the Port’s jurisdiction so they can detect and resolve potential problems before they happen.

“For example, we monitor operations of vessels while they are still in the port scheduled before Hamburg. For several carriers we provide from then on detailed passage plans for the sea passage towards Hamburg, taking tidal and traffic situation as well as terminal operations and certainly carriers’ schedule into consideration” Goller said. “This service is unique and it’s based on a collaborative approach between all parties involved.”

Providing Benefits to Customers, Partners

With continuous 24/7 access to a feed of accurate AIS shipping data, the HVCC is creating further competitive advantages of the Port of Hamburg now that vessels are able to travel at a slower steady rate and still arrive on time, rather than racing at high speeds that consume more fuel and release more emissions, then waiting to enter the Port. Customers are benefitting from greater efficiency and productivity as well as reduced costs and environmental impacts.

More accurate arrival time calculations also help authorities, pilots, tugs, boatman and certainly terminal operators and other service providers to work more efficiently and cost-effectively.


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