The Elbe extends for 1,091 kilometres from its source in the Giant Mountains in the Czech Republic to where it meets the North Sea. Of this, around 870 kilometres are navigable. The river falls into two sections – the Lower Elbe for the stretch of around 145 kilometres from the estuary to the Port of Hamburg, and the Upper Elbe for the upriver section further inland.
Access depth for the Port of Hamburg
Ships with a maximum draft of 12.80 metres can arrive and leave the port irrespective of tide at any time. Using the tidal surge for covering the stretch of river from North Sea as far as Hamburg, drafts of up to 15.10 metres are possible. Making allowance for the tide, in the other direction drafts of up to 13.80 metres are feasible.