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    People at Eurogate

    • Jürgen Gries

      He takes up challenges sportingly

      Jürgen Gries, Master of the Break Bulk Team in Hamburg

       

      He knows the port like the back of his hand, he worked with Kurt Eckelmann, the father of EUROGATE’s current managing director Thomas Eckelmann, and has accompanied the Hamburg terminal for more than thirty years along its path to becoming one of the most efficient container terminals in Germany: Jürgen Gries, loadmaster on the Hamburg general cargo team.   

    The born-and-bred Hamburg citizen started his port career at EUROKAI when he was 24 years old. “As a normal dockworker”, says Gries. Containers only began their triumphal course gradually. “We handled a lot more general cargo at the time. I was involved in loading and unloading and also worked on barges”, remembers the now 61-year old. 

     

    Containers changed the work. “Everything has become faster, but, above all, we have grown and have a lot more colleagues than at that time”, says Gries. When he started in Waltershof harbour in 1979, around 200 people were employed at EUROKAI. More than five times this number work here today. His general cargo team has also grown. “There were three of us at the start, today there are more than thirty colleagues”, he says. And he adds: “They are a fantastic gang and it’s fun to work with them every day.”

     

    His team is responsible for the loading and unloading of large, heavy and bulky goods. For parts of the oil drilling platforms, for example, more than 100 tonnes of heavy crankshafts of ship engines or entire sailing yachts had to be safely and reliably loaded and stowed on board the ships. It is a responsible job because the value of the packages is often above the million-euro mark.

     

    However, Jürgen Gries bears the responsibility. He is used to dealing with challenges and major tasks. This is certainly also due to the fact that he learned to come out on top as a young man. Gries was an outstanding boxer – he was Hamburg champion in the light heavyweight division several times, three times German runner up and fifth in the European championships. He stood against Olympic and world champions in the ring. However, he also sustained considerable injuries and broke his jaw, nose and metacarpus.

     

    He hung up his boxing gloves years ago but sport is still part of his life. “I run now and again and go swimming”, says Gries. Fitness is mandatory for this citizen of Hamburg because he has all sorts of plans: “I can retire in four or five years but I would be glad to go on for longer if I am needed.”