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Columbus-Terminal - construction and history

The Lloyd Hall, built in 1897 at the Kaiserschleuse Lock, served as an important terminal for the overseas passenger service for decades. However, after the First World War, it was regarded as no longer big enough. The big transatlantic liners of the North German Lloyd such as the COLUMBUS or the still larger BREMEN and EUROPA (commissioned in 1926) demanded larger facilities.

So the Bremen authorities decided to construct a completely new terminal directly on the Weser. Enormous foundation works were necessary, for instance a comprehensive pile system consisting of 15,000 piles. The work on the 900-metre-long quay lasted from 1924 to 1928. On August 20th 1928, the Columbus terminal, named after the largest Lloyd liner at that time, was put into commission. Designed in the contemporary Bauhaus style, the facilities comprised not only port installations, but also a railway station. So the travellers, having arrived from destinations inland, could change directly from railway carriages to the moored ocean liner.

The Columbus Terminal, displaying a representative style, proved to be adequate in size but was destroyed by heavy bombing in August 1944.

After the war, the transatlantic service departing from Bremerhaven saw a new boom. Now troop transports for the US-Forces stationed in Germany, but also civilian passenger vessels, carrying German emigrants bound for overseas, were frequent callers at Bremerhaven. For this purpose, a rather provisional terminal, made from timber and located on the northern part of the still existent Columbus Quay, came into operation in April 1950. On the southern tip, a more solid building was constructed for customs duties but also including a restaurant. A semi-circular niche had a more elegant appearance. The building was opened in May 1952. Further north of the 1950 edifice, terminal No. 2 was put into operation in November 1962.

The fierce competition from more and more long-distance airplanes after 1960 caused a dramatic decline in ocean passenger shipping, making much of the capacity provided at the terminal redundant. So the southern part was finally demolished and replaced by a conventional cargo terminal which went into service in September 1975. After some conversions, the terminal of 1962 is still in service today,. Cruise liners call there, and the present name of this facility is Columbus Cruise Center.

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