Ultra-Large Vessels

The Elbe area is nautically challenging. The number of so-called ultra-large vessels (ULV) has been on the increase for years. These ships are more than 330 metres long and/or over 45 metres wide and are subject to special restrictions. It is not just container vessels that fall within this category, but also bulk carriers and cruise ships, each with their own operational requirements in regard to the river, port and infrastructure.

The Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC) department is the Port of Hamburg’s central point of contact for the shipping companies and service providers for all matters relating to the arrival and departure of their ships, and provides them with active, round-the-clock assistance when planning their vessel’s passage to the port – long before the vessel begins making its way up the Elbe estuary.

For its terminals, the NTC pools all the different operational requirements and information to create a complete overview. In doing so, it is able to detect potential conflict situations at an early stage and develop solutions – always with the aim of optimising the port as a whole.

For the Hamburg Vessel Traffic Service Centre and the Elbe pilots, the NTC takes charge of coordinating communications across all facilities on behalf of the terminals. The NTC is also available as a central point of contact for the authorities and pilots.

Our services

Coordination of arrivals

Planning across an extensive period of time and geographical area allows potential conflict situations to be quickly recognised and resolved. Active coordination by the NTC ensures that ships make their way from the previous port at the exact speed required and are able to enter the Elbe without delay. This reduces the need for bunkering, thus also protecting the environment.

Passage planning

The passage plan provides the shipping company with a comprehensive, coordinated plan containing all relevant information concerning routing, weather and traffic. If, for example, the framework conditions change, the NTC will immediately inform the shipping company. Ships’ planned and actual positions are continually monitored as they make their approach.


Shipping companies

Service providers

Authorities and pilots


HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center GmbH

Department Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC)

Office address: Container Terminal Tollerort, Am Vulkanhafen 30, 20457 Hamburg

E-mail: ntk@hhla.de

Phone: +49 40 74001-4333