Germany’s largest universal port, Hamburg, is again on a growth path, achieving a distinct advance in the first quarter of 2019 with seaborne cargo throughput ahead by 6% at 34.6 million tons. Both general cargo throughput at 23.9 million tons – up 5.4% – and bulk cargo throughput at 10.7 million tons – up 7.5% – rose substantially in the first three months.
The 6.4% increase in container handling to 2.3 million TEU is primarily attributable to four liner services new to Hamburg and linking the Hanseatic City with ports in the USA, Canada and Mexico. A total 121,000 TEU for container transport with the USA represented an almost fourfold jump, catapulting the USA into second place among Hamburg’s top trading partners on container traffic. Twelve liner services now link the Port of Hamburg directly with 29 ports in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
“The four new Transatlantic services run by ‘THE Allianz’ plus renewed growth in bulk cargo handling are putting the port on a growth path. Hamburg has now become the hub for services with the US, Mexico and Canada,” said Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
At around 14.1 million tons, in the general cargo segment German foreign trade with the US now constitutes the second strongest market after China with around 21 million tons. “Including bulk as well as general cargoes, in seaborne cargo handling the Port of Hamburg has so far annually loaded and discharged a total of around 5.5 million tons,” said Mr Mattern. With an average share of around 58 percent in the past five years, bulk cargoes – including agricultural produce, oil and coal – have outranked general cargoes.
The first quarter of 2019 was very successful for the Port of Hamburg as a whole. Feeder traffic and landside seaport-hinterland services – at 1.45 million TEU up by 8.0 percent on the comparable figure in the previous year – also profited from the new container lines. Of the total of 2.3 million TEU handled, 865,000 TEU – up 3.8% – were transported by feedership to other European ports. “The positive figures for seaport-hinterland services and the transhipment field underline Hamburg’s outstanding position as a hub port. More than 100 liner services link Hamburg with more than 1,000 seaports worldwide and generate the throughput volumes that then pass inland via Hamburg for further distribution,” said Ingo Egloff, Axel Mattern’s Executive Board colleague at Port of Hamburg Marketing.
Thilo Trusch, Hapag-Lloyd’s Head of Trade Management Atlantic, is sure of one thing: “Hamburg can Atlantic.” From the Hapag-Lloyd manager’s angle, pooling of Atlantic container services in Hamburg at one central terminal is very popular with his clientele. “As a rule, we offer our customers at least two sailings on our Atlantic liner services from HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA). In Hamburg we are also pooling our feeder services and exploiting the advantages of the excellent hinterland infrastructure with around 2,100 container train services per week,” he explained.
Combined with the high proportion of local and regional cargoes, the supreme efficiency of the automated HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA), its hinterland infrastructure handling around 2,100 container block train connections that is unique in Europe, as well as the dense network of feeder links, all operate to Hamburg’s advantage.
Both Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Joint CEOs welcomed the start now made on fairway adjustment and assume that this project so vital for the seaward accessibility of the port will be implemented as rapidly as possible. “For shipping companies, the fairway adjustment not only simplifies calls in Hamburg, but also facilitates larger handling volumes. Greater draft and an easier situation for passing on the Elbe will allow greater use of their ships’ transport capacity,” explained Mr Egloff.
Once the Elbe has been deepened, large containerships and bulk carriers will be able to transport around 18,000 tons more cargo when arriving or sailing in Hamburg. The port and its handling terminals are today already clearing mega-carriers with a slot capacity of more than 21,000 TEU. They are also far-sightedly preparing for the safe arrival and departure of even larger vessels. The Port of Hamburg, which is also Germany’s largest continuous industrial area, will also further extend its existing knowhow in the logistics field by exploiting technological progress. The Port and Northern Germany are actively positioning themselves for ship owners and shippers as a logistics region offering an attractive base with outstanding prospects for the future.
As a broadly spread universal port, the Port of Hamburg provides more than 156,000 secure jobs in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The port is also an important industrial location and in generating added value of 21.8 billion euros, of immense importance for the entire German national economy.
For 2019, the Port of Hamburg’s marketing organization is reckoning with distinct growth of between three and four percent in container traffic and a stable figure for bulk cargo handling.