Bürgermeister Olaf Scholz eröffnete am Mittwoch (5. April) mit Generalkonsulin Eltje Aderhold und Alexander Prokhorenko die Elbphilharmonie in Miniaturformat in St. Petersburg. © Senatskanzlei

Ports link Hamburg and Saint Petersburg

Port industries at centre of Mayor Olaf Scholz's visit to Saint Petersburg - freedom of the press also on agenda

The port industries and sea container traffic topped the agenda of a two-day trip begun Wednesday by Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, to Saint Petersburg. The port of Saint Petersburg handles around 95 per cent of goods shipped from Hamburg to Russia. The mayor’s visit marked the 60th anniversary of the Hamburg-St. Petersburg twinning. A workshop on “Digitalisation in Port Industries and Logistics” gave north German and Russian companies insight into the “smartPORT“ project. Their talks also centred on global developments in terminal automation and German-Russian collaborations.

SmartPort driving innovations

Scholz noted: “Hamburg began developing concepts and testing their everyday operation early. Since 2013, the Hamburg Port Authority has launched over 30 ‘smartPort’ projects many of which are now in operation. Today’s modern ports drive innovations throughout the city. They require good contacts to research institutes, innovative companies and the excellence of educational institutions.“ Hamburg’s role as Germany’s leading logistics centre was by no means coincidental and the city is also the first to develop a strategy for introducing intelligent transport systems, he added.

Freedom of the press and of expression crucial for democracy

Scholz highlighted the importance of the freedom of the press and expression during a discusssion with journalism students at colleges in St. Petersburg and media students from Hamburg University for Applied Sciences (HAW). Digitalisation is important for everyday work and journalism is significant for a democratic society, he stressed.

“German Week” in Saint Petersburg

Scholz and Carola Veit, President of the Hamburg Parliament, opened Wednesday the “German Week” which is being held from April 5-12, 2017 under the motto “Gates to the World” in Saint Petersburg. To mark the 60th annivesary of the partnership between the two cities, Hamburg is partner to this year’s event. “The ‘German Week’ reveals the many existing friendly relations between our two cites despite all the differences,” said Scholz. He looked forward to an interesting programme focusing on “digitalisation and sustainability that brings science and commerce together and presents outstanding artists.”

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Elbphilharmonie presented

Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, presented an interactive model of the Elbphilharmonie in St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum to give Russians a glimpse of the magnificent concert hall. Scholz said: “The Elbphilharmonie is Hamburg’s invitation to the world. And today the Elbphilharmonie is a guest in the splendid Hermitage. This is a unique honour four us. The Elbphilharmonie combines many aspects such as classic and modernity, the creativity of artists and that of music lovers all over the world. Hopefully, it will soon bring many people from St. Petersburg to the city on the Elbe River.“

Solidarity with St. Petersburg

In the wake of the devastating terrorist attack Monday on St. Petersburg’s underground railway, the senate ordered Hamburg’s City Hall to fly flags at half-mast for two days. Both the flags of the state of Hamburg and of Europe were decorated with black ribbons in a show of solidarity with the victims and their relatives.

Bürgermeister Olaf Scholz hat auf seiner St.Petersburg-Reise am Mittwoch (5. April) Blumen am Ort des Anschlags niedergelegt, um Hamburgs Anteilnahme mit den Opfern und ihren Familien auszudrücken.
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