The Port of Hamburg handled 135.1 million tonnes of sea freight (down 1 per cent) last year, a press release said Tuesday (February 18, 2019). Hamburg successfully asserted itself in a difficult environment, achieving a distinct advance on railborne seaport-hinterland transport. More than 60,000 freight trains with around 1.6 million freight wagons were handled on the port railway in 2018. This topped record levels achieved in 2016 and strengthened Hamburg’s position as the leading European railway port. China remained the largest trading partner in 2018.
Hamburg – hub in China trade
In 2018, a total of 46.8 million tonnes (up 2.7 per cent on 2017) and 2.44 million TEU (up 4.7 per cent) were transported by rail in seaport hinterland traffic. In terms of container traffic with China, rail transport is increasing significantly as well as sea shipping. China remained the largest trading partner for the Port of Hamburg in 2018. Every third container handled in the port is a Chinese container. In addition to sea connections with China, more than 235 weekly rail connections from Hamburg are along the New Silk Road. “Having handled around 4.8 million TEU for or from China, compared to other locations in Europe, Hamburg is the main hub for China freight by a wide margin,” said Axel Mattern, Member of the Board of Management of Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. Hamburg is the main freight-handling hub for transport along both the maritime and overland Silk Road. “We shall be further strengthening and expanding our location in terms of transport geography for the benefit of our worldwide port customers,” Mattern added.
Fairway adjustment to facilitate larger volumes
Speaking during the Hamburg Annual Conference, Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics & Transport, pointed out: “Works on upgrading the fairway have already started.” Ingo Egloff, Member of the Executive Board, said work on adjusting the fairway in the lower and outer Elbe sends a positive signal to German and international shipping companies. When the Elbe has been deepened, large container ships and bulk carriers will be able to bring around 18,000 tons more cargo to Hamburg and be able to sail with increased quantities. In 2018, a record 212 cruise ships called to the Port of Hamburg – an increase of 7.1 per cent over 2017. Passenger numbers rose by 10.8 per cent to 900,562.
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