The Port of Hamburg is heading to new records, with a 6.6 per cent in total turnover to 72.6 million tons (+ 6.6 percent) in the first six months of 2014. Container handling even grew by 6.8 per cent to 4.8 million TEU (20-ft standard containers). In comparison, the largest seaports of Europe’s north range only showed an average growth in total handling of 1.8 per cent and 2.6 per cent in container handling. The Port of Hamburg thus successfully increased its market share from 25.7 to 26.7 per cent.
Above-average growth of container handling
At 51.6 million tons in the first half year, general cargo handling showed a gain of 8.8 per cent. “We can see extraordinarily strong growth in loaded container handling: 4.2 million full boxes went over the quay walls in Hamburg. That is 8.2 per cent more than in the previous year, and more than ever before in the port’s history in a first half-year”, says Axel Mattern, member of the Executive Board of Port of Hamburg Marketing. At 588,000 TEU, handling empty boxes showed a slight decline of 2.1 perc ent. Strong exports with a total of 2.3 million TEU (+ 6.3 percent) in container handling, and comparably strong imports at 2.5 million TEU (+ 7.4 percent) are largely responsible for the generally above-average result in container handling.
General cargo handling also increased
Throughput in conventional general cargo also showed a positive development with a plus at 930,000 tons (+ 0.8 per cent) in the first half year, including 302,000 tons (+ 1.7 per cent) in project and heavy lift cargo handling at the special terminals. A strong 33 per cent growth in imports to 66,000 tons accounted for this positive development. With 21 million tons, the bulk cargo sector increased by 1.6 per cent. This result was especially positively influenced by growing exports of grain, petroleum, bio diesel, and chemical products. On the import side, there was a slight decline of 4.5 per cent in throughput of suction, grab cargo, and liquid cargo.
Increased handling volumes create new jobs
The growth in seafreight has created new jobs in the Port of Hamburg. “Today, there are more workers employed in the handling terminals than in the boom year of 2008. The port economy is specifically seeking and employing more workers”, emphasises Ingo Egloff, member of the Executive Board of Port of Hamburg Marketing. HHLA created 50 new jobs at Container Terminal Burchardkai at the end of July, and announced to hire new employees for the Container Terminal Altenwerder. The personnel service provider for the port GHB (Gesamthafenbetriebsgesellschaft) recruited 60 new staff this year to have enough qualified personnel for continued growth in general and bulk cargo terminals.
More XXL container ships in Hamburg
The first six months were also marked by a volume increase in seaborne cargo, brought about by the continued growth in size of container ships. In the first half year of 2014, 244 ultra large container ships with slot capacities of 10,000 TEU and more called at the Port of Hamburg. With the number of ships in this large size class traveling to Hamburg increased by 27.1 per cent, Hamburg’s demand for a river channel adjustment in the lower and outer Elbe must be urgently realised to secure the future of the port and shipping industry.
Double digit growth for container traffic with China, India, Africa and Poland
The Port of Hamburg profited from stable German exports and a stronger demand in neighbouring European countries. In the country’s hub for Far East traffic, 1.4 million TEU (+ 12.9 per cent) passed through Hamburg en route to China. Container traffic from Indian ports reaching Hamburg in the first half year grew by 13.2 per cent a to 118,000 TEU. Container traffic with Africa was extraordinarily good in the first half year, climbing up by 33.3 per cent to 171,000 TEU. Of special importance for the Port of Hamburg are container volumes from and to the Baltic Sea region, with 1.2 million TEU (+4.5 per cent) transported in the first half year on feeder ships. Container traffic handling with Polish ports increased by 33.5 per cent to 199,000 TEU. Container traffic between Hamburg and Russian ports reached 330,000 TEU in the first six months. After China, Russia is the second most important trade partner of the Port of Hamburg in container traffic. With more than 160 weekly feeder services, of which 32 call at Russian ports, Hamburg is the hub for the Baltic region in container traffic.
Record level of 145 million tons anticipated by the end of the year
“In 2014, we can reach a plus of four per cent in sea cargo handling and a five per cent increase in container handling”, forecasts Axel Mattern. If container traffic with China continues to grow, and sanctions on foreign trade with Russia are not tightened, the Port of Hamburg could reach a total turnover of approximately 145 million tons, and a container throughput of 9.7 million TEU. The Port of Hamburg would then be able to top the previous record achieved in 2008 of 140 million tons of sea cargo by the end of 2014.
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