Upward trend in container throughput at Port of Hamburg

Port of Hamburg Marketing presents positive interim results
22 August 2022
Container ship in Port of Hamburg

Container traffic in the Port of Hamburg during the first half of 2022 surpassed expectations with throughput of 4.4 million TEU (20-ft standard containers) or slight growth of 0.9 per cent, a press release said Wednesday (August 17, 2022). Hamburg was the only major port to report an increase with the four major ports in the European North Range namely Antwerp-Bruges, Rotterdam and Bremen/Bremerhaven reporting downturns of 4.6 per cent in container throughput while Hamburg gained 1.1 percentage points.

Steady development despite global challenges 

“The first half of 2022 confronted companies in the Port of Hamburg, their workers, all our logistics partners and port customers, with very special challenges. The war in Ukraine, for instance, led to far-reaching sanctions in foreign trade that affected and will further affect seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg,” said Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. Bulk cargo handling has dropped significantly. However, a double-digit increase of 34.3 per cent was achieved in conventional general cargo with a total of 798,000 tonnes. Turnover of 1.4 million TEU on the Hamburg port railway remained slightly below levels in 2021 (minus 0.2 per cent).

Improved conditions in port – top trading partners

The improved infrastructure in the Port of Hamburg is one of the main reasons for the positive results. Around 117 Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS) took advantage of the navigational channel adjustment this year. Compared to 2021, the average draft of such vessels increased by approximately 0.5 metres. Around 8 per cent more containers were handled per ship call, according to the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). This indicates customer acceptance of the channel adjustment. China, the United States and Singapore remain Hamburg’s three most important trading partners. 

Outlook for 2022

Shore power supply for container ships and cruise ships is HPA’s next major project. Construction work started in the first half of 2022 at the three container terminals Burchardkai, Tollerort und Eurogate, along with the Steinwerder cruise terminal. Trial operation is due to commence in 2023. That makes the Port of Hamburg the “European pioneer in the field of shore power supply and sustainability”, according to Friedrich Stuhrmann, Chief Commercial Officer at HPA. Despite an expected recession, HHM expects a handling result of around 130 million tonnes and 8.7 million TEU in 2022, should the global economic situation stabilise.

nj/sb/pb