Duisburg, 16 September 2016: At the beginning of the festive ceremony, the guests experienced a premiere event, specifically the eight-minute documentary film which shows the important milestones in the 300 year history of the port with succinct and impressive sequences. The video was accompanied by “live” music from the Duisburg Philharmonic - a four-part suite by Prof. Bernhard Eichner.
In his welcoming address, Host Staake reminded the guests that the port of Duisburg has often been a trend-setter during its history: flexible, adaptable and often prescient: “Even the first dock for coal vessels demonstrated the visionary outlook of the time. After all, industrial mining was still in its infancy in 1716.” Similarly, Duisburg also “made itself fit for container handling long before other competitors” in the last century. In an elaborate history book, the duisport Group offers the following description on the occasion of its anniversary, in accordance with Staake's words: “how the ‘Port of the Future’, the gate to the future for Duisburg, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany and central Europe, was established at this site.” Now the focus is on continuing to strengthen the global connectivity and regional anchoring of the port with new strategies and new digital technologies.
At this time, the ports in Duisburg handle almost 130 million tonnes of goods. More than 3.5 million tonnes are moved in containers - the highest container rate of all global inland ports. The port of Duisburg has become a job engine for the entire region, with a current employment effect of 45,000 regular workplaces. Three hundred companies around the port generate half a billion euros in added value every year. From Duisburg, 20,000 vessels and 20,000 trains travel to more than 80 national and international destinations; to sea ports, the European hinterland and into the Asian region all the way to China.
Federal Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt: "300 years of the Port of Duisburg – these are 300 colorful years, and what’s more haunting story of growth, prosperity and work for our country. The Port of Duisburg has decisively influenced Germany’s story of economic success and become a vibrant market place in the center of Europe. Germany is world export and logistics champion - this success would not be possible without the Port of Duisburg. "
North Rhine-Westphalia Premier Hannelore Kraft noted: “The 300 year anniversary of the port of Duisburg is indeed a grand birthday, and a unique success story. The port was and continues to be an engine for the transformation of the region - and also for North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and Europe. The development of the port of Duisburg is a good sign for North-Rhine Westphalia - as we successfully manage the transformation and the future - and I am sure that this success story will continue.” At the same time, she also praised the logistics and transportation industry for its creativity and courage in searching for joint solutions. “Duisburg and the port of Duisburg joined forces to tackle the reality of structural change. Today, the port is an impressive symbol of strength. This is exactly the kind of attitude we need and that we promote here in North-Rhine Westphalia. If we invest in our infrastructure with combined and coordinated effort, we will not only manage the huge challenges in this area but will also lay the foundation for new wealth and make our country permanently fit for the future.”
Duisburg’s Lord Mayor Sören Link, in this capacity as the shareholder representative for the city of Duisburg: “The port is the pivotal point in the industrial life in our city and as such is an indispensable player in the federal state, as 22,000 workplaces in Duisburg depend directly on the port. Therefore the port's continued further development is very important to us - and as a city, we will do what can in this regard.”
With a performance of the “Rheinische Sinfonie”, the Duisburg Philharmonic closed the festive ceremony, which was led by WDR moderator Steffi Neu. After a short break, she also moderated the following gala dinner. At the dinner, guests were served a special appetizer in the form of the film, which documents the creation and unveiling of a piece of art as a birthday present by the port company to its city: “Echo of Poseidon”, a ten meter high bronze sculpture by the famous sculptor Prof. Markus Lüpertz. Port head Staake and the artist spoke to moderator Neu about the background of the origin of this work.
After the discussion and the film performance, the view was opened to the brightly illuminated sculpture, which is located a few meters away and that draws the attention of all passing skippers and Rhine tourists to the port and the city of Duisburg. “It is a permanent landmark for the port and for Duisburg,” says port head Staake. “And Markus Lüpertz promised us that it will outlast us all, perhaps another 300 years, hopefully alongside the port of Duisburg.”