The Elbe River

The Elbe River

The Elbe River flows 1,165 km from its source to the North Sea. The mouth of the river has a breadth of about 15 km.

About 870 km of the river are navigable. The stretch between Hamburg and the sea is called the Lower Elbe, upriver from Hamburg is the Upper Elbe.

The distance from the approach buoy to the Port of Hamburg is about 115 km or 70 sea miles. Sailing up the estuary, ships pass by Cuxhaven, Brunsbüttel, Glückstadt and Stade, before they reach the harbour limits near Tinsdal.


Channel depth

The Elbe River has a depth of 16.3 metres at high tide. Ships with a maximum draught of 12.8 metres can enter or clear the port irrespective of tides. Making use of high tides, ships of up to 15.1 metres draught can sail up the Elbe. The largest ship to call at the Port of Hamburg thus far was the “Paradise N”, which can carry a payload of 322,398 metric tons.