Hamburg: New Container Inspection Facility at Main Customs House

To combat drug trafficking the Hanseatic Town of Hamburg is constructing a new container inspection facility, which will be the first of its kind in Europe, at the site of the main customs house in Hamburg-Waltershof.

The facility functions by transporting each container, together with its towing vehicle, through an above-ground tunnel installation. By means of the installed X-ray system it is then possible to examine the inside of the truck and its load on 3 colour monitors  and compare this with the packing list. Whenever the pictures show shapes which deviate from the submitted inventory, the container has to be unpacked.

Altogether the inspection facility consists of a transillumination tunnel including transporting system, a separate control building for operating personnel, an evaluation station, a duty and social area, a packing hall with unloading installation for container vehicles
as well as the associated infrastructure for moving traffic and parked vehicles.

This entailed the following planning and construction phases:

  • Above-ground transillumination tunnel
  • Staff and control building
  • Packing hall
  • Building for data evaluation
  • Preparation of site
  • Outdoor facilities


Industrial Engineering

Constructional Engineering


Dorsch International Consultants


Hanseatic Town of Hamburg, Department of River and Port Engineering

Project Activities

  • Basic concept for budget submission/construction (preliminary design)
  • Budget and implementation documents/construction for buildings, loadbearing structures and technical installations (plan approval and detailed design)
  • Preparation of, and assistance in, award of contract
  • Construction supervision


From 1990 to 1996