More Swinging Space for the Large-scale Container Ships

Creation date: 14 August 2014

Now it has become easier to handle Maersk Line's giant container ships of the Emma and Triple E class in the Port of Aarhus. The first stage of a large extension of the swinging basin at the entrance to the port has now been completed, resulting in approx. 100 m additional swinging space in two of the "corners" of the basin. During the autumn of 2014 the rest of the basin will be extended correspondingly.

"The extension of the swinging basin provides more free scope when we have to swing the large ships a quarter of a turn and reverse them towards the container terminal", says Knud Nissen, one of the port pilots.

The need for more swinging space is a natural consequence of the fact that the container ships are getting bigger and bigger. The largest ships of Maersk Line's Triple E class are as long as 400 m whereas the Emma ships have a length of 397 m. Before the extension of the basin the distance between the lighthouse at the northern head of the terminal and the outer buoy in the swinging basin was merely 500 m, which left only 50 m of free space at both ends of the largest ships when they had to be turned around.

"50 m at either end is a very small margin. It takes only a light wind to make such a large ship drift, even though we have up to four tugs to assist the largest ships on every call. It is a big improvement for us to have about another 100 m of swinging space", says pilot Knud Nissen.

Removal of 220,000 cu m of sea bed

The entire extension of the swinging basin comprises an area of 85,300 sq m - similar to approx. 13 football grounds - that must be dredged to the same depth as the remaining part of the basin, i.e. approx. 14 m.

The natural water depth in the area is 10 to 11 m. This implies that an extension of the basin calls for a considerable quantity of sea bed to be removed, to be precise 220,000 cu m.

The first stage of the project was carried out in the spring 2014 and took about one month. Totally 60,000 cu m sea bed was removed.


Vandvejen 7 
DK-8000 Aarhus C
Tel.: +45 86 13 32 66
Fax: +45 86 12 76 62


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