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a navigation canal in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic linking the Ems, Weser, and Elbe rivers. In the west the Mittelland Canal is connected with the Dortmund-Ems Canal at the city of Bevergern and with the Rhine River by the Lippe Lateral Canal. In the east it joins the Elbe-Havel Canal at Rothensee and is connected with the Oder River by the Oder-Havel and Oder-Spree canals. It has a length of 325 km, of which 258.7 km is in the Federal Republic of Germany. The minimum depth is 3 m. The canal, which has ship hoisters and three locks, admits ships with freight capacities to 1,000 tons. It intersects the Weser River by way of an aqueduct.
Opened in 1938, the Mittelland Canal handles approximately 4–5 percent of the freight turnover of the Federal Republic of Germany. It carried 12.2 million tons of freight in 1973, primarily cross hauls of coal and ore from the Ruhr to the Lower Saxony industrial region. The canal has branches to Osnabrück (14 km), Misburg (2 km), Linden (11 km), Hildesheim (15 km), and Salzgitter (18 km). The chief ports are Hannover (freight turnover, 1.6 million tons; 1973), Salzgitter-Beddingen (1.6 million tons), Misburg (1.2 million tons), and Hildesheim (1 million tons). Other ports include Peine (700,000 tons), Braunschweig (800,000 tons), and Osnabrück (700,000 tons). In 1965 modernization work was undertaken on the canal and construction was begun on the Elbe-Seiten Canal from Wolfsburg in the north to Geesthacht on the lower Elbe.
I. A. BASOVA