• 17. März 2020
  • 14:14
  • Economy

Coronavirus causes bottlenecks in foreign trade in central- and eastern Germany

Eastern Germany is characterised by a heterogeneous economy. Not only goods from the chemical-, mining-, mechanical engineering- and automotive sectors are exported, but also agricultural- and forestry goods. Both, major companies and successful medium-sized enterprises, are active in this market. They are making an important contribution to the development of German economic power.
Stefan Kunze, Head of the Port of Hamburg Representative Office in Dresden observes the current situation in cargo traffic in his market region: "So far there are no reliable estimates of economic decline," he says. "However, there is speculation of a double-digit figure."
There is currently a severe shortage of empty containers and a decline of about 10 percent in Hinterland traffic. So far, production and exports remain virtually unchanged. In the automotive industry, a decline is expected due to a lack of supplies from overseas, especially from companies with a low vertical range of manufacture. As smooth production cannot be guaranteed, the Opel plant in Eisenach will be closed from the second shift on March 17th.
Air freight has collapsed massively, but tangible figures for the Leipzig hub are not yet available.
"Home office amongst freight forwarders, shipowners and shippers has increased. However, there is definitely a deceleration of work, especially due to technical problems - such as slow connections," says Kunze. This could also have a negative impact on bookings.
According to ocean carrier representatives, bookings from the Far East have currently returned to the levels seen before the Corona crisis. However, there still seem to be problems with delivery by truck in China, making it uncertain whether all booked containers will reach the seaports. The suspension of departures results in capacity problems in exports.

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