Der Rhein bei Basel. Foto/Photo: TES

The corridor Rotterdam-Basel-Genua and the Swiss Rhine Ports

The first large Rhine ship arrived in Basel in 1904. The Rhine port of St. Johann was expanded in 1906 and dissolved in 2011. A second Basel Rhine port was built in Kleinhüningen between 1919 and 1942.

The ports of Auhafen in Muttenz and Birsfelden (Canton Basel-Landschaft) were built between 1937 and 1940. In 2008, the ports of both cantons merged to form the Swiss Rhine Ports (Schweizerischen Rheinhäfen, SRH). These ports are the gateway to the world’s oceans and seas via the Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Genua (transport through the Gothard tunnels) seaports.

Cologne. Photo: Guido Wasser, Basel

The High Rhine (Hochrhein) till and the Upper Rhine (Oberrhein) in Basel

The Upper Rhine begins in Basel and was originally divided into numerous side arms. The regulation of the Upper Rhine from 1817 to 1876 forced the river into a single bed.

Port Basel-Kleinhüningen

From 1928 to 1959, the ‘Grand Canal d’Alsace’, a 53 km-long canal, was built between Kembs and Breisach. Twelve power plants dam the Rhine between Rheinfelden and Karlsruhe, increasing the river’s water depth and making it navigable all year round.

The Birsfelden lock has an important function. The annual number of locks is over 10,000, including 6505 large ships (and some rowing boats!).

The SRH asserts itself in the regional, national, and international environment. Today, it forms the national transport hub on the Rotterdam-Basel-Genoa freight corridor. The SRH provides the infrastructure for transhipment activities and ensures that the port remains attractive as a logistics location.

The three port sections of Kleinhüningen, Birsfelden, and Muttenz Auhafen handle 6 million tonnes of goods and over 100,000 containers annually, corresponding to around 10 per cent of all Swiss imports. The Rhine port terminals handle every third litre of mineral oil and every fourth container.

(Source and further information: Port of Switzerland) 

The Upper Rhine

The Waal (the Rhine) near Nimwegen