The flood control barriers at the head of what used to be the Hamburg free harbor were recently pulled down and put into storage. During the fall and winter season, additional metal elements are put up to strengthen the permanently installed flood control system. Come spring, the elements at the head of the barrier are removed to make way for the breathtaking view of the Hamburg skyline and the Elbphilharmonie.

Flood control measures in Hamburg harbor

Due to the city’s position on the river Elbe, flood control in Hamburg is especially important. It is put in place to protect life and belongings against storm tides and floodwaters. After the big flood in 1962, all flood control systems in Hamburg were raised to match a design water level of MSL + 7.30m at the flood marker Landungsbrücken St. Pauli. These systems are made up of a solid concrete base and mobile elements.


Flood control system with additional elements, restricting the view of the Hamburg skyline

Once they’ve been removed, you can see the Elbphilharmonie

Multi-functionally designed flood control systems

Part of the Hamburg flood control system is designed multi-functionally so it doesn’t only protect, but also serve as a decorative element and as large stairs to walk or rest on. The elements at Baumwall and along the shoreline of the so-called 50s sheds are built in this fashion. What is special in this area is that the typical stair elements at the top of the site are removable to reveal these architecturally interesting buildings. During spring and summer, the 50s sheds are often used as event locations, making the view of the city from this spot one more highlight.

On-time delivery – thanks to Krogmann

Before the flood control elements could be stored inside the 40’HC Full Side Access Container, the containers had to be delivered to the designated spot. For jobs like these, the team at iCON likes to work with the forwarding company H. Krogmann. They know, what they’re doing and arrived with the “blue giants” (the 40’HC Side Door Storage Containers) 15 minutes before unloading. In Krogmann, you can trust.

For more information and to contact the forwarding agency H. Krogmann, click here

Right on time – the H. Krogmann truck is ready for unloading

The stair elements are perfect to sit down on and get some rest, and from the top, you can enjoy the view

The purpose of the 50s sheds

The so-called 50s sheds are three landmarked transshipment sheds (house numbers 50, 51 and 52), that date back to imperial times. They are the last of their kind. The whole ensemble is situated on an area of 110,000sqm and comprises the former transshipment and storage sheds, as well as buildings that used to house apartments and offices. The buildings have landmark status and still used as a storage and transshipment spot, as well as a museum and event location. Shed 52 can be rented for events with up to 3,000 guests. The preservation of these cultural assets can in large part be owed to the Hamburg Maritime Foundation.

The container fork-lift has done a great job and is ready for the next assignment

The work of the Hamburg Maritime Foundation

The Hamburg Maritime Foundation established in 2001 by the chamber of commerce and the Hamburg regional state bank. Its goal is to protect and preserve the maritime heritage from hundreds of years of shipping and harbor industry, as well as make it accessible to the public. The foundation works with a large number of volunteers and gives a new home to old transshipment equipment like cranes, can-carriers and sack barrows, as well as many ships and the historic harbor train. These pieces of equipment, often given to the foundation by Hamburg businesses, are expertly restored and integrated into the existing collection. Through this fascinating journey through time, the changes in the shipping and harbor industry are visualized and made comprehensible for the public. It’s history at your fingertips.

The 40’High Cube Side Door Container as storage

Because floods and high tides are less likely to occur during spring or summer, the mobile metal elements on top of the flood control system near the 50s sheds are removed for this time period, allowing an unobstructed view of the Hamburg skyline. The elements are about 3 meters wide and can be lifted from their guide rails. Removing these elements reduces the height of the flood control system by about 1.5m and reveals the neighboring harbor basin, the Elbphilharmonie and the peaks of the city’s many famous church towers. To ensure quick and easy storing, the Hamburg Maritime Foundation decided to use two of iCON’s professional storage units – the 40’HC Side Door Container. They are 11.55m wide and the entire width of the container can be accessed through the large side door. This allows for even very long elements to be loaded into the container easily using forklifts or wheeled loaders. Once inside, the elements are stored safely and securely and the container can be moved if the space is needed for something else. Come winter, the “blue giants” (the 40’HC Side Door Container) are brought back to remove the elements and restore the flood control barrier to its full height, once again protecting the buildings behind it against floods and high tides.

From the Hamburg Maritime Foundation team: Sven Petersen (l.) and Siegbert Zeugner (r.)

Do you need a mobile storage unit for bulky goods and elements? Is it important to you to be able to access different products stored inside the container directly? Through the side door, the whole width of the container can be opened, allowing for unobstructed access to anything inside.