Hamburg News: Hafen und Logistik - Shipping-Container-Schiff - © HMG Christian Spahrbier
© HHM/Peter Glaubitt

Increase in cargo handling in the port of Hamburg

Increased sea freight, hinterland traffic and container handling - toll of corona virus unclear

The Port of Hamburg’s seaborne cargo throughput rose to 136.6 million tons or 1.1 per cent in 2019 while container handling at 9.3 million TEU advanced substantially by 6.1 per cent and environment-friendly container transport by rail achieved double-digit growth, a press release said Wednesday (February 19, 2020). A record 2.7 million TEU (+10.4 per cent) were transported between the terminals in the Port of Hamburg and those in the hinterland. Around 165,000 people are directly or indirectly employed in the Port of Hamburg.

Boost through innovation

Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation, commented: “The Port of Hamburg is not only one of the most important logistics hubs in Europe, but also a job engine for Hamburg and far beyond.” A total of 5.8 million TEUs (7.8 per cent) and 97.5 million tonnes (+0.8 per cent) were handled in land-based seaport to hinterland traffic by rail, truck and inland waterway. The share of rail in Hamburg’s landborne hinterland transport in 2019 will be 46.3 per cent in the container transport sector and 49.4 per cent ( 1.0 per cent) in the tonnage transported. “Clearly, we cannot rest on our laurels. That is why we are continuously increasing efficiency in the port,” he added.

Liner services strengthen port’s position

“By achieving a new record, Hamburg has extended its position as Europe’s leading rail port. Transferring freight shipments to rail and inland waterways helps to relieve pressure on roads,” stressed Ingo Egloff, joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM). More than 100 liner services with most of the over 1,000 seaports around the world have boosted Hamburg’s position significantly. Axel Mattern, a member of HHM’s Executive Board, said: “Along with the inauguration of four new transatlantic liner services bringing us substantial growth in container transport with the U.S. and Mexico, a new service to Asia and one to India, along with two multi-purpose services, produced additional cargo. We are maintaining this upswing in 2020.”

Repercussions of corona virus

A total of 2.6 million TEU – up 1.7 per cent – were handled in seaborne container traffic with China, Hamburg’s most important trading partner. “For the moment it remains impossible to be precise about the repercussions of the corona virus on volumes of foreign trade with China,” said Mattern. Depending on the duration of restrictions in the Chinese economy, a marked downswing could occur and would be reflected in freight handling to/from China in Hamburg after a delay. “We can only assess the position at the end of the quarter, at the earliest,” Mattern added. However, Hamburg Hafen is expecting stable results in container traffic and a slight increase in bulk cargo handling this year.

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