Strong exports ensure growth for Port of Hamburg in 2012 first half
In the first six months of 2012 the Port of Hamburg reported total throughput of 65.8 million tons (up 2.7 percent). At 45 million tons or 4.4 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), the container throughput that predominates in Hamburg as a universal port achieved a gain of 1.9 percent. The reason for this relatively modest growth was the total for empty containers, whereas throughput of loaded containers grew up by 4.7 percent to 3.8 million TEU. Weaker growth rates compared to the 2011 first half are explained by the unusually strong growth achieved at that time. The main factor underpinning growth for the Port of Hamburg in the first half of 2012 were exports.
Despite a problematical economic environment in Europe and slackening off in the China trade that is of such particular importance for the Port of Hamburg, both on general and bulk cargoes Germany’s largest universal port achieved a positive result: at 46 million tons, general cargo throughput was up by 3 percent, while bulk goods at 19.8 million tons reported 2.2 percent growth. “Today and in future the Port of Hamburg as a location of industry and logistics plays an important role for the economic development of the coastal region. It is not yet possible to predict how far the current economic situation will have effects on our port. However, I assume that the main part of German imports and exports will still be handled by the German seaports”, stresses Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics, Traffic and Innovation.
Around 97 percent of the Port of Hamburg’s total first-half growth was attributable to exports. In the first six months of the year, volume here reached 28.4 million tons, representing a 6.4 percent advance. 79 percent of the distinct growth in outbound trade originated from container cargo, 19 percent from bulk goods and 2 percent from conventional general cargo. These figures reflect the robustness of the German economy and heavy demand abroad for German products. Primarily foreign trade with non-EU-countries proved very strong. “Compared to the other ports in Northern Europe, Hamburg has gained additional market shares. Today’s cargo handling results demonstrate once again how the German export economy and the Port of Hamburg benefit from each other“, explains Jens Meier, managing director of the Hamburg Port Authority. On the import side first-half volume in the Port of Hamburg totalled 37.5 million tons, representing a 0.1 percent increase.
First-half containerized general cargo throughput in Europe’s second largest container port in 2012 reached 45 million tons, representing 3.3 percent growth. Here again, exports at 22.8 million tons produced a distinct increase of 6.3 percent. Imports of containerized general cargo totalled 22.2 million tons and were thus slightly (0.5 percent) up on the same period of the previous year. “That the Port of Hamburg was able to achieve growth on both general and bulk cargoes in the first half of the year despite the problematical economic environment in Europe and a slackening of trade with China is very gratifying,” commented Claudia Roller, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. “Against the background of downward adjustments to forecasts for world trade and economic trends in our core markets, by the end of this year we are reckoning with total throughput of around 135 to 136 million tons, and hence an increase gain in the order of between two and three percent. For the year 2012 as a whole, container throughput will bring us growth of between one and two percent,” said Roller.
A total of 2.4 million TEU (down 6.0 percent) were handled in seaborne container trade with Asia in the 2012 first half. Declining demand in Europe, especially, is leaving its mark on container throughput in the China trade in the Port of Hamburg. The Port of Hamburg’s marketing organization assumes that the trend in container volumes in the Asia trade is primarily attributable to capacity reductions and the withdrawal of liner services since the beginning of the year.
In the first half of 2012 the trend in container throughput with the Baltic region was once again very positive. A distinct increase of 9.5 percent was reported here, with volume reaching 1.0 million TEU. The Russia trade that is of such importance for Hamburg, especially, accounted for very significant growth with a gain of 14.7 percent to 317,000 TEU. “With Russia’s accession to the WTO in the middle of this year, trade barriers will successively be further dismantled. The Port of Hamburg, being closely linked with the Russian market, will also profit. For the Port of Hamburg, Russia is meanwhile its second most important trading partner in the container trade. Altogether 595,000 TEU were transported to and from Russia via Hamburg in 2011,” explains Roller.
Seen as a single trade, in the first six months America with 572,000 TEU also achieved a notable growth of 24.4 percent. Crucial for this were the new and expanded liner services from Canada via the East and West coasts of the USA and as far as South America. Growth was accelerating for the USA trade, especially. In the first half, at 197,000 TEU throughput of US cargo via Hamburg was ahead by 81.1 percent. The USA accordingly advanced from ninth to fourth place among the Port of Hamburg’s top trading partners for container traffic. Apart from the new liner service connections, as in the first quarter the revival in the US economy made an impact on German exports and therefore on the Port of Hamburg’s total throughput.
The Africa and Australia/Pacific container trades, with 121,000 TEU (up 3.8 percent) and 20,000 TEU (up 1.6 percent), also reported gains.
Bulk cargo throughput in the 2012 first half totalled 19.8 million tons and was therefore 2.2 percent up on the previous year. Along with grab cargo throughput, which in the first six months once again improved on the previous year’s, this time by 5.0 percent to 10.1 million tons, suction cargo throughput at 3.2 million tons was 3.3 percent higher. Throughput of liquid cargo at 6.5 million tons (down 2.2 percent) remained below the result of last year’s first half.
On the import side, growth in the bulk cargo segment is mainly explained by the throughput of ores, the total of 5.1 million tons representing growth of 14.3 percent. In addition, imports of oleiferous fruits reached 1.7 million tons (up 5.7 percent). Imports of feedstuffs also improved markedly, being 62.3 percent ahead at 187,000 tons.
On exports of bulk cargoes, the grab cargo sector proved especially strong, with exports of fertilizers at 1.3 million tons representing a gain of 14.6 percent. Primarily consisting of grain, suction cargo throughput was also up by 3.5 percent, and so the export total was positive. Altogether 1.3 million tons of suction goods were exported in the 2012 first half from the Port of Hamburg. With 1.2 million tons (up 10.3 percent) of oil products being handled in the first half, exports of liquid cargoes also made good progress.
Throughput of non-containerized general cargo at 1.0 million tons was 11.5 percent lower than in the previous year. One of the causes is the downturn in imports of conventionally stowed citrus fruits (down 46.6 percent) to 136,000 tons. The progressive containerization of general cargo handling in the Port of Hamburg is the reason for this development: A high proportion of the citrus fruits handled in Hamburg are meanwhile reaching the port in reefer containers. The main factor behind the positive trend in the conventional general cargo area consisted of vehicle exports. With the volume handled reaching 290,000 tons, this area achieved notable growth of 22.1 percent. In the first half of 2012, the Port of Hamburg’s throughput of heavy and project cargoes also maintained its growth with exports 0.2 percent up at 270,000 and imports 6.5 percent ahead at 73,000 tons.
More information you find in: