Kreetsand tidal shallow water area

Securing the seaward access to the port in a sustainable way

It is the goal of the Tidal Elbe concept of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and the Federal Waterways and Shipping administration to secure unrestricted access to the Port of Hamburg in the long run. The sustainable approach serves the economy and nature as well as the people in the region. In addition, the consequences of climate change are taken into consideration. Measures has to be taken to achieve a better balance in the hydromorfological situation, where possible in combination with nature improvement. The Kreetsand pilot project is an example of these measures.

This is based on a three-pillar approach:

  1. Measures in the entrance to dampen the tidal energy.
  2. Creation of tidal shallow water areas between Glückstadt and Geesthacht.
  3. Optimalisation of sediment management by taking the whole Elbe system into account.
Dirk Braatz - Hamburg Port Authority
© Mark Schuurman -
Mr. Dirk Braatz of Hamburg Port Authority gives an introduction to the Kreetsand project

The pilot project Kreetsand in the framework of the Tidal Elbe, will create additional space for the Elbe river on the east side of the Elbe island of Wilhelmsburg.


coordinates Google Maps: 53.500818 , 10.046161

With the creation of this tidal shallow water area in the region of a former flushing field Spadenlander Busch / Kreetsand, the HPA kicked off the implementation of the second pillar. In addition to the positive influence of hydraulic conditions, the transport of sediment and the creation of a valuable tidal habitat, the plan also involves the gathering insights that will contribute to the planning of additional areas along the Tidal Elbe.

Furthermore, public awareness and knowledge of the complexities of the Tidal Elbe system will be increased.

Midway through the last century, the former flushing field was filled with sand and silt material from maintenance dredging works on the Rive Elbe. For the construction of the shallow water area, a one-sided connection of the area to the Norderelbe has been chosen. This requires the removal of approximately two billion cubic meters of soil material, a quarter of which is contaminated and must therefore be disposed of properly. The aim is to use as much suitable material as possible in other constructions.

Kreetsand - work in progress 
©Mark Schuurman -

The first 9 ha of the new shallow water area were complete and connected tot the Upper Tidel Elbe by the end of 2015. Completion of the project will depend on the utilization of the removed soil. Upon completion, the area will develop into a valuable habitat, wich will be protected within the network of the Auenlandschaft Upper Tidal Elbe nature conservation area.

The implementation of the integral management plan Elbe estuary (Natura2000) in Kreetsand thus makes an important contribution to the ecological upgrading of the Elbe estuary.

Kreetsand allowed the HPA to implement an important aspect of the integrated management plan for the Elbe estuary (Natura2000) thus making an important contribution to the ecological upgrading of the Elbe estuary.