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Port of Hamburg on growth course

HMABURG, Ger.–The Port of Hamburg announced it is on a growth curve, achieving total throughput of 139 million tons in 2013, or 6.2 percent growth. Both general cargo handling totalling 96.8 million tons (+ 5.7 percent) and bulk cargo handling at 42.3 million tons (+ 7.2 percent), ensured above-average growth for Germany’s largest universal port, said a port release. 

“The Port of Hamburg‘s throughput trend is a fine signal for Hamburg and the entire Metropolitan Region. Growth of 6.2 percent is a most impressive result, underlining the tremendous effectiveness of port and logistics companies in Germany‘s largest universal port,” said Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Executive Board Member at the presentation of the Port of Hamburg’s cargo handling figures for 2013.

Container handling was the principal source of this growth. With throughput of 9.3 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), the increase in container traffic reached 4.4 percent. This was primarily attributable to growth in transhipment services into the North Sea and Baltic region that were 10 percent higher, plus the onset of a recovery in container traffic with Asia, and especially with China, Hamburg’s largest partner on the market.

 Throughput of non-containerized general cargo in 2013 totalled 1.9 million tons and was therefore 7.6 percent lower. The decline is primarily attributable to lower import volumes ( 19.3 percent). Imports of citrus fruits are increasingly containerized, causing a downturn in the volume of conventional cargoes handled. At 1.3 million tons, in 2013 exports of conventional general cargoes via Hamburg remained all but stable (- 1.4 percent). Along with project cargoes from the machinery and plant sector, among exports it is primarily vehicles, iron and steel, paper and timber that are handled conventionally.

Bulk cargo throughput in 2013 rose by 7.2 percent to altogether 42.3 million tons, also contributing significantly to the Port of Hamburg’s favourable result on the year. In all three handling segments, namely grab, suction and liquid bulk cargoes, an increase in seaborne cargo handling was achieved. Suction cargo throughput advanced especially strongly, with handling of 8 million tons representing a 29.9 percent increase. Another advance was achieved in liquid bulk cargo, up by 3 percent at 14.5 million tons. Here the main source of growth was an above-average 65.7 percent leap to 7 million tons in imports of mineral oil products. Handling of grab cargoes, e.g. coal, ore, fertilizers and building materials, also improved significantly by 3 percent, reaching a total for the year of 19.7 million tons, said the port.

Baltic region sustains growth

Hamburg‘s container services with the Baltic region are the main growth factor in the European trades. In 2013 a total of 2.3 million TEU (+10.1 percent) were handled via Hamburg on feeder and shortsea services between Hamburg and ports on the Baltic.

“Consisting of Russia, Finland, Poland, Sweden, the Baltic states and Denmark, the Baltic region is of immense significance for us in container traffic. We are surprised that despite clearance problems at the Kiel Canal, with 2.3 million TEU we were able to achieve such a good result for 2013,” said Mattern. 

For the year 2014, the Port of Hamburg‘s marketing organization is confident  there will be further growth in seaborne cargo throughput that should reach a modest increase by the end of the year.