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Der Main-Donau-Kanal: eine wirtschaftsgeographische Neubewertung

The economic and geographical new evaluation of the Main-Danube Canal
[journal article]

Glas, Christian

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Abstract With the completion of the canal, measuring 171 kilometres in length and stretching across the pan-European watershed, it was possible to create an unbroken inland waterway of 3500 kilometres between the States which border the Rhine and the Danube. This investigation is divided into three segments by a spatial subdivision of the Main-Danube waterway. In addition to the trade ports along the Main-Danube canal, which are the focal point of this investigation, interviews were also carried out in the public inland harbours along the Main and the Danube. In the course of this, data was gathered and evaluated from a total of 20 harbour locations on Bavarian territory. If one summarises the determined single results of the waterway stretches Main, Main-Danube Canal and Danube, it becomes clear that the public inland harbours in Bavaria have reacted to the completion of the Main-Danube Canal in very different manners. Whereas the harbours located after the Bavarian stretch of the Main have hardly been able to profit from the new means of transport up until the present day, equally some of the harbours along the Northern ramp of the canal have been able to build up a surprisingly low level of goods' transport connections with harbours along the Danube, the possibilities, opened up by the unbroken passageability of the Main-Danube Canal, were exploited in a particularly intensive manner in the Danube harbour Kelheim. One can therefore conclude that, in 1993, some of the Bavarian Main harbours achieve no, at the most only 3% of their volume of water traffic with harbours along the Danube. The share of water-traffic in harbours along the Northern ramp of the Main-Danube canal ranges between 0% and a respectable 16%. On the other hand, some Bavarian Danube harbours use the economical potential linked to the canal in a much more intensive manner. The results of the Kelheim harbour are particularly exemplary. Approximately 65% of the traffic volume is carried out with harbours in the Rhine area. Due to this speedy orientation to the changed situation, it was possible to increase the total traffic volume in 1993, compared to the previous year, in the Kelheim harbour by 112%. The Bavarian inland harbours have a similarity, regardless of their location on the Main, the canal or along the Danube, i.e. that fertilisers and iron ore constitute the most frequent goods with the highest tonnage carried across the European watershed. It became clear during gathering data regarding the on-land catchment areas for the harbour locations that the commonly accepted depiction of a 50 kilometre catchment area around the harbour location rarely does justice to the actual situation. Instead, the harbours along the Main, the Main-Danube canal and the Danube all have an extremely homogenous picture, which ranges from a catchment area of just a few kilometres up to distances of over 150 kilometres. It is however questionable whether it will be able to secure operation in all Bavarian harbours in the long term. An exaggerated number of competing harbours lead in borderline cases to shut-downs, as has already occurred in Wipfeld. A possible aid in alleviating this pressure of competition would be a consequent specialisation of smaller harbour locations in dealing with specific transport goods. From the point of view of 1995 and with the exception of the completion of the construction work on the future Danube harbour Straubing-Sand, there should be no further plans or actual construction work carried out on public goods' harbours. Much more, it will be the main task in the coming years to structure and to modernise in a targeted manner the present stock of harbours. These steps must go hand in hand with an increase in co-operation between the Bavarian harbours in improving their catalogue of services and marketing. A sensible aid in achieving this is the drawing up of a harbour plan, already projected in the State Ministry for Economy and Infrastructure.
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; Bavaria; transportation; infrastructure; economic geography; shipping lane; shipping; zone; structure; spatial planning; operating costs; traffic development; historical development
Classification Area Development Planning, Regional Research; National Economy; Economic Sectors
Document language German
Publication Year 1995
Page/Pages p. 21-31
Journal Europa Regional, 3.1995 (1995) 3
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications