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Eemshaven Docking Problems forces HNL to move to Emden

Holland Norway Lines has found a solution for the recent problems on the connection from Eemshaven to Kristiansand. From mid-April, the connection to Kristiansand will first divert to Cuxhaven and from the beginning of June the ferry will sail from Emden to Kristiansand.

Emden is located on the other side of the Ems seen from the Eemshaven. Although it is only about 20 kilometers from the current mooring place in the Eemshaven, it is a 1.2 hour detour to reach Emden from the Eemshaven.

All parties involved

HNL Lost some serious reputation over the many cancellations in Feb / March and the communication surrounding these cancellations. The buzz on twitter was rather quiet though and many tourists seem to have find alternative to travel from Holland to Norway.

New ferry connections are rather ‘rare' and Groningen Seaports (Eemshaven) is like one of the few ports in the world which didn't put up a good fight to keep them. The only thing they kept on saying is:

But we made it clear from the beginning that they should provide their own, suitable mooring facility themselves. As far as we are concerned, the realization of this quay is still possible.' ”

Groningen Seaports [1] Holland Norway Lines verruilt Eemshaven voor Cuxhaven en Emden – RTV Noord

The City of Groningen is probably the biggest loser here, that would have been the #1 city destination for mini cruises, a thing they could have solved by helping out with building a dock at a harbor. Now these tourists will probably move to Emden and or Bremen and/or Hamburg.

Emden, Cuxhaven (temporary) and Germany are the biggest winners here, a new connection to Norway (They already have the successful Kiel Oslo connection) would be a big win. Quite sure they will support this in a nice way to try to win HNL over to Emden.

Map of the route change to Emden

The map below shows the Eemshaven and Emden. From June, at least for the high season, Emden will be the new home port of Holland Norway Lines.

The Future of HNL

Holland (HNL) is in the name, so they might return to Eemshaven after this season. However, as you know, things can change quickly. If they build up things in Emden, it might be easier for them to stay there later on. If I were managing Groningen and Groningen Seaports, I would have made sure that there was a new docking place ready for next season. Even if HNL doesn’t come back, they can easily use it for the many ships that are currently working on the offshore wind parks in Eemshaven.


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  1. Wondering if this is a final decision or not, they might still move back to Eemshaven in 2023. Probably depends on the dock they were supposed to be building there.

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