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Elbe fairway project delayed by contract dispute

The Elbe fairway deepening may be delayed for almost a year as one of the two Dutch dredging companies that missed out on the contracts has taken legal action and referred the case to the Düsseldorf commercial court

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Elbe fairway project delayed by contract dispute

After more than 17 years of legal disputes, mitigation agreements and so on, the project to deepen and widen the Elbe fairway finally got the all clear last year and dredging was supposed to get under way in Q2 this year.


We previously reported German press reports that the complaints about the contracts awarded last December had come from two Dutch dredging firms, Royal Boskalis and Van Oord.


Now Axel Springer SE has reported that one Dutch company has taken the case to court and there are fears the hearing could delay the project until mid-2020. The court case has been deferred until the end of April and could be deferred into the late summer.


The complaint by the two Dutch dredging firms were rejected by the federal cartel office in Bonn, which found nothing wrong in the contracts procedure and that it was handled in a correct and transparent manner.


However, one of them - understood by WorldCargo News to be Royal Boskalis - has appealed to the Oberlandesgericht (OLG Court of Appeal) in Düsseldorf and demanded that the contracts, as awarded, must be suspended pending the court’s deliberations.


Hans Heinrich Witte, President of Generaldirektion Wasserstraßen -Schifffahrt (GDWS General Directorate for Waterways and Shipping), insisted that the Kartelamt had got it right and said the action in the OLG was unjustified.

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