Port of Hamburg reports brilliant results for first quarter seaborne cargo throughput
19 May 2014 14:25
In the first quarter of 2014 total throughput in the Port of Hamburg reached 35.6 million tons, representing 8.6 percent growth. Both general cargo throughput totalling 25.2 million tons (+ 10.8 percent), and bulk cargo throughput at 10.4 million tons (+ 3.5 percent), ensured especially strong growth for Germany’s largest universal port.
“In the first quarter of 2014 we in the Port of Hamburg succeeded in maintaining the previous year’s positive growth trend. Our outstanding growth rate of 8.6 percent enabled us to further extend our very sound competitive position in comparison to Northern Europe’s other major seaports. Against the background of the current situation on building sites within the port, in the Elbe tunnel and on the A7 autobahn, which have especially affected truck traffic for limited periods, that is a striking achievement on throughput. Temporary hindrances caused by asphalting outside the Elbe tunnel and work on the Köhlbrand Bridge in the port will shortly be ended. During work on construction of the A7, three lanes will be available to traffic in each direction. On completion, all measures in the port and in the region will be of tremendous benefit for the whole of Northern Germany and for the German economy. They are urgently required. This outstandingly good result also underlines the efficiency of the Port of Hamburg and logistics companies here,” said Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, at the presentation of the Port of Hamburg’s quarterly results.
Port of Hamburg improves position on the container transport market
Success was powered mainly by container throughput at 2.4 million TEU (20-ft standard containers) in the first three months of the year, an advance of 8.0 percent. Growth in container traffic was attributable both to strong exports, which at 1.1 million TEU were up by 7.8 percent, and also an excellent trend in imports, which at 1.2 million TEU achieved an increase of 8.1 percent.
The Port of Hamburg is also Northern Europe’s leading hub for container services with the Baltic region. Transhipment services by feedership in the North Sea and Baltic region reported an advance of 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2014. On container traffic in the first three months, Russia with 168,000 TEU (+ 4.0 percent), Finland with 95,000 TEU (+ 20.1 percent) and Poland with 93,000 TEU (+ 26.6 percent) were among Hamburg’s leading trade partners. Container services with Asia also grew distinctly in the first quarter of 2014, with 1.3 million TEU handled representing a 9.0 percent advance. Container handling for the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong account for around 30 percent of total container throughput in the Port of Hamburg, and reached 705,000 TEU (+ 10.5 percent) in the first quarter. The throughput trend on container services with European ports is also gratifying, with 746,000 TEU (+ 6.1 percent) being transported via Hamburg. Throughput on the America trade was stable at 262,000 TEU (+ 0.5 percent). The distinct growth trend was maintained on container traffic with Africa that rose to 80,000 TEU (+ 46.9 percent). A total of 11,000 TEU (+ 5.9 percent) were handled on direct services with ports on the Australia/Pacific sea trade.
Against the trend among its competitors, the Port of Hamburg reported growth for the first quarter and gained market shares on container services. At Northern Europe’s four largest container ports - Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Bremerhaven - in the first three months of 2014 seaborne cargo traffic grew only slightly, or by 1.8 percent, to a total of 211.6 million tons. At 8.8 million TEU, container throughput for the same ports grew by an average of 2.3 percent. The Port of Hamburg‘s market share of container throughput at these four major ports now amounts to 26.8 percent, being up by 1.4 percentage points. In other words, Hamburg consolidated its position as the European hub-port for container traffic.
Positive trend with non-containerized general cargo
Even if around 98 percent of all general cargo shipments handled in Hamburg commence their sea voyages in containers, high-value and labour-intensive handling of non-containerized general cargo remains an important activity in the universal port. In the first quarter of 2014, 461,000 tons were handled at the port’s special terminals. The downturn recorded in recent years has been halted and even reversed with an advance of 5.9 percent. Now that the bulk of citrus fruit imports meanwhile arrive in containers, the mix of
non-containerized cargoes handled conventionally consist primarily of project shipments from plant and machinery manufacturers, vehicles handled at RoRo facilities, iron and steel, and paper and timber.
Excellent figures for bulk cargo throughput
Bulk cargo throughput rose in the first quarter of 2014 by 3.5 percent to a total of 10.4 million tons, also contributing to the Port of Hamburg’s satisfactory total. In the three throughput segments, it was primarily suction goods that rose steeply at 2.2 million tons (+ 24.2 percent), profiting from strong exports and imports of grain. With throughput totalling 3.5 million tons (+ 4.2 percent), an advance on the first quarter of 2013 was also scored in the liquid bulk goods area, where imports and exports of oil products as well as other liquid cargoes developed well and fed growth. On handling of grab cargoes such as coal, ore, fertilizers and building materials, throughput totalled 4.7 million tons, representing a slight downturn of 4.4 percent.
Expansion of traffic infrastructure will immensely benefit the entire national economy
Around 260,000 jobs, 110,000 of them outside the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, are connected nationwide directly or indirectly with the Port of Hamburg. Added value countrywide of almost 20 billion euros demonstrates that the Port of Hamburg’s significance extends far inland. “Here we all need to pull together on the construction of the new rail links, and extension of the A20 and A21. Expansion and modernization of transport infrastructure in the port and the Region is of tremendous importance for Hamburg’s further development as Germany’s leading port and logistics centre. For its port, effective traffic links are the arteries vital for worldwide transport chains. Along with both domestic and international port customers, forwarders and logistics companies, we should be in a position to handle the adverse effects for a limited duration of building works both in the port and the region. From our point of view, relief of road traffic should certainly be achievable by more intelligent intermeshing and use of multimodal transport chains. Not for nothing are we Europe‘s leading rail port, and with intelligent transport schemes we should be able to avoid the majority of traffic jam situations in advance. That will be facilitated by enhanced use of rail in seaport-hinterland services,” explained Mattern. Along with traditional bulk cargo shipments, inland waterway craft also offer immense potential for container and general cargo shipments between the Port of Hamburg and inland destinations. For trucking, intelligent IT solutions such as self-service terminals or automatic container recognition at terminal gates provide relief, along with 24-hour container handling at 7 days a week. “We must bring home to the public that good infrastructure for pre- and post-carriage with the seaports is in the interests of the entire national economy. We are therefore looking to a positive decision this year from the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig on implementation of the deepening of the navigation channel of the Lower and Outer Elbe,” stressed Mattern.
Charts of the press conference (german version)