Jan citizens moving 32 tons through the air, so much is the weight of a Container. With a joystick he operates a manipulator arm, hovering under him. The so-called Spreader engages the more than nine-metre-long Container and lifts it. Through the glass floor-citizens to look in depth. 38.5 meters above the harbour, he sits in the cab of the container bridge. First Jobvoraussetzung: The Dizziness Of Freedom.

citizens pushes and pulls the Joystick in front of to the side. With the ease of a computer player knows exactly what will happen next. Through the small, open window cooler travel permeates the wind, as the Cab is in motion. Citizen throws lamps a look at the signal. Looks good, he must lower it. A few seconds later, the cargo is unloaded on the ship. Of course, not just anywhere, but precisely at the specified point. Screens show him the way.

the port of Hamburg: 6.45 Briefing the morning shift

Under civil-steel banging on steel, on the Terminal site in Hamburg-Altenwerder prevails. About an hour before shift change at the port of Hamburg und Logistik AG (HHLA). To 6.45 p.m. the Briefing the morning shift took place in the main building, like every Morning.

Jan citizens, 42, works as a container bridge driver on the Terminal, his colleagues greet him in a friendly way – sometimes with the ghetto fist. Some people still looking tired from his eyes, but jokes or sayings you hear here, to earlier time. Many of the men have known each other for years, and it shows them.

It is still fresh in Hamburg this Morning, the first rays of the day falling in through the glass window of the meeting room. Six, seven degrees Celsius outside temperature, the Thermometer, the Wind blows, the fog is persistent. Spring is in the North of Germany. Known to the Süderelbe. Anyone who works here, needs warm clothes. “Jan citizens CB6”, it reverberates through the room, the foreman calls on each member individually. “Yes,” answers citizen. If everyone Present knows his job, can start the layer.


CB6, is one of 14 container cranes on the Terminal in Altenwerder. This Morning it is the work of Jan citizens.

©Karina Geburzky star

The 1400-Meter-long Ballinkai, where the container ships dock, is located approximately 500 metres from the main building and would be easily reached on foot. However, the workers for safety reasons with small buses to be brought to your site. On the bridge, CB6 citizens reached via steel stairways and narrow, dimly lit path. The leads to a small Elevator, located in one of the legs of the crane and take him to the top. It rumbles and rattles. Everything is vibrating. The light of day, there is not here, around him, only steel. For people with claustrophobia, this would be hell.

“I like to ride on the bridge”

citizens in the cold. The 1.90 meters tall man running in the direction of the driver’s pulpit, the Reflectors on his bright yellow service overalls Shine to the bet. Still a few grid levels, paths and stairs, then he arrived. The Wind whistles around his ears, despite the protective helmet. In the cab he will spend the next four hours. “I like to ride on the bridge,” he says, while he sits in a black leather chair, at the flanks of the various control levers are mounted. He looks in front of you on the screens. Under him, on which he may leave his feet. Directly below the ground glass.

“First of all, is charged to the feed vessel,” he says, as he returns with a speed of three meters per second. Three meters per second, 180 meters per Minute, or nearly eleven kilometers per hour. Doesn’t sound terribly impressive. But up here, somewhere between Hamburger heaven and the Elbe, is the different. Each movement is shaky. And it is loud. Very loud. Citizens will stop abruptly at to be a platform where a Container is waiting to be loaded. From the feed vessel is only as a supply freighter, will be distributed to the charge later in the port of Hamburg to other Terminals.


Jan citizens sitting in the Main trolley, the container bridge controls

©Karina Geburzky star

citizens is a cornerstone of HHLA. He has been working since 2004 on the Terminal, has its location since 2002 in altenwerder, in addition to the two HHLA terminal Tollerort, and at the Burchardkai. “When I work here started, there were ten storage blocks. Now there are 26.” If it runs well, is in need of citizens a half-hour to download a total of 20 containers on the ship. “My record is 55 pieces per hour,” he says with a little Pride. And pushes afterwards: “it is not only about speed, but precision.” Citizens carries a lot of responsibility. Seen from above, it looks as if it is games on the ship Tetris with the containers. Nothing must go wrong, or the ship tilts. Therefore, there is a fixed procedure: “I’m gonna start on the water side, and work my way to the country side – then the weight of the ship presses against the Wharf, and it can’t tilt.” A colleague on the Deck of the ship has each of its steps. With him, he maintains a permanent radio contact. The other workers on his bridge, he can give an outdoor speaker instructions.

2000 tonnes set in motion

As the loading of the feed vessel is complete, come by radio new instructions: civil sets, the 2000-ton container bridge in motion. Target the rear of a much larger ship, a few hundred meters to the right of him.

Per week in altenwerder about ten large vessels, which are approximately 24 hours in the port. Ship planners determine where on a ship, what cargo is. “At the very top-mounted containers are usually brought to the nearest port by ship,” explains citizens. The very large container vessels up to 22,000 containers fit, go to the terminal at Tollerort, and at the Burchardkai. The Terminal in Altenwerder is not designed for this, because the nearby köhlbrand bridge blocking the feeder path, it is high enough.

During the trip, with the container bridge citizen sees on one of his screens the road. The way is clear, with the complete bridge is in motion. The ride is barely noticeable, because it goes on rails very slowly. After a few minutes of the citizens says: “We are here.” Now, the pulpit offers the Driver a new perspective: thousands of different-colored Container are under him. “There are containers, which are very rare: a 30-foot containers with extra Length or 25 High cube – higher. This is something Special,” says he. A however, he does not know is that What exactly is in the Container. “I only see where you are coming from. Here, cargo from all over the world lands.”

Suffers in spite of the high work tempo, concentration, must consider citizens: “Fresh air and exercise help me to be awake again,” he says. For too long you may and may not do the Job anyway. Every four hours be exchanged for the tasks, so that the driver can move. After a half-hour break in the canteen, he will take over later in the Part on the Deck of the ship and the work of the following container bridge driver monitor. The exchange is also a very pragmatic concern speaks: High up in the air, there are no toilets. Who needs to be in between times, must sound the Alarm. “You have to think of in a timely manner,” says citizens. Because it takes a Moment until the gentlemen to come and take him by Bus to the main building. Today, however, the bubble does not press, he can stay at the top.


If the container vessel “Seaspan Thames” is completely loaded, it to Asia

fog on the drive – and it sounds music

The view from the cabin makes the toilet procedure. “When the weather is nice, this is the hottest view that you can have in Hamburg,” says citizens. And begins to rave. From the views, the sunrises, the port. From his small Radio It’s My Life” by Dr. Alban is heard “, as if he had ordered it. The fog is dense, the tops of the cranes are barely visible. Also known in Hamburg. If the visibility is really bad, the work must be stopped: “It seemed that the fog was so dense that I haven’t seen below me in the ship. In the case of fog, it may happen that a container bridge can work and the other does not, are not though that far.” During storm is the end, anyway. “At wind force 10, we fold up the arms of the container bridges, as otherwise the danger is that the cranes toppling over,” says a citizen. So windy it is today and also the fog does not affect his work. Citizens is facilitated, he has no time to lose. “There are already situations of stress, when a ship must be quickly done, but since I’m going with clear. Otherwise I would not do the Job for 15 years.” The radio creaks again. The next instructions.


the fog is too dense, break. The worker must then wait until a clear view.

©Karina Geburzky stern.de

As a citizen, would like to pick up another Container from the ship, he chickens out when looking down the eyes a bit. Then he says into his radio: “There is something, old man!” A pair of Twist Locks between the containers have not been opened. After a Moment, his colleague responds, “You’re right, you eagle eye.” Citizens replied with a dry “wood eye, be vigilant. What do you mean, why do I have glasses?” “So you don’t look quite so stupid!” Citizens with a laugh. “Without fun is nothing that we need for all the hard work going on here.” Because standstill is here. Early shift, late shift and night shift, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In almost any weather.

A dream come true

Before Jan started as the container bridge driver, was he creators at the Festival, and of the ships moored in the port of Hamburg. If the father of two daughters, speaks of his own Childhood, he shows a very soft side: “in the past, my father took us children and sometimes to work. He was also the creators at the Festival.” Citizens recalls: “In the case of the bridges at the Tollerort I always look to the cranes and marveled. At the time, I’ve made up my mind that I will later crane driver.” His dream has come true. “It fills me with Pride”, says a citizen, as the evening comes closer. Tomorrow he will go back to the Terminal and do its Job. 38.5 meters above the harbour. As he makes the Hamburger a veteran just like.


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