Port of Hamburg's half-year results reveal ongoing upward trend

Positive throughput in port after pandemic-induced downturn
13 September 2021
HHM Helsinki (Megamax class) can transport 24,000 TEU over HMM Nuri’s 16,000 TEU.

Seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg increased by 3.8 per cent and came to 63.5 million tons in the first half of 2021, Hafen Hamburg Marketing e. V. (HHM) announced during a press conference Tuesday (August 30, 2021). Container handling increased 5.5 per cent to 4.3 million TEU (20-ft standard containers) with a marked increase in general and bulk cargo in Q2. Throughput of bulk goods came to 19.3 million tons and continued to rise and accounted for an increase of 3.3 per cent.

Positive development after pandemic downturn 

Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, remarked: “We find that throughput in the Port of Hamburg has developed positively, embarking on a recovery process. Yet, it was not yet possible to fully recover the throughput downturn caused by the repercussions of the pandemic in Hamburg among other ports. Growing import and exports, heavy consumer demand, and the Port of Hamburg’s immense range of liner services are bringing us onto a stable growth curve."

Record container transport by rail 

In the first six months of 2021, 1.4 million TEU (an increase of 11.3 per cent) were transported on the Port of Hamburg Railway network. “We are delighted by this record. Despite sometimes difficult conditions, an increase in railborne container transport to and from the Port of Hamburg proved attainable and underlined Hamburg’s position as Europe’s top rail port,” said Mattern. The first stage of the fairway adjustment in the Elbe has also had a positive impact. Clearance has eased movement for large vessels, Jens Meier, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), pointed out, adding: “Even for the extremely large containerships of the Megamax class, offering slot capacities of between 18,000 and 24,000 TEU, the Port of Hamburg is now more readily accessible. In the first half of 2021 alone, 107 of these Megamax containerships called in Hamburg. That’s a 24.4 per cent increase and shows that the fairway adjustment is a successful project for the port, shipping, and the economy.”

China and U.S. remain top partners

Container throughput in the Port of Hamburg's ten most important trading partners developed differently in the first six half of 2021. Seaborne container throughput with China, Hamburg's largest trading partner by far, increased by 14.2 per cent to 1.3 million TEU. The U.S., Hamburg's second most important trading partner, remained on a growth course with 303,000 TEU (plus 5.3 per cent). Other countries in the top 10 with positive container handling in the same period were Sweden (up 5.3 per cent), South Korea (up 2.4 per cent), Poland (up 14.4 per cent), Brazil (up 16.1 per cent) and Denmark (up 6.4 per cent). 

Outlook for 2021

The Port of Hamburg’s marketing organization expects rising seaborne cargo throughput in 2021. The stabilization of liner service sailings and new services and an improving situation worldwide are likely to yield throughput figures of around 130 million tons and 8.7 million TEU.