Port of Hamburg Seaborne Cargo down slightly in 2016


The sea freight throughput of 70.2 million tonnes in the first half of the year reflects the stabilization of the trend for the Port of Hamburg. At the same time, a sharp increase has occurred in the transport of goods by rail from / to the port of Hamburg.

At 70.2 million tonnes, in the first half of the year, total ocean freight throughput, which includes general and bulk cargo segments, was slightly 0.9% lower than the previous year. In the first six months of 2016, containerized freight handling totaled 4.5 million TEUs – standard 20ft containers – corresponding to a decline of 1.2%. “The sea freight throughput in the Port of Hamburg in the first half of the year may have been slightly lower, but the trend was much more stable. With an increase of 1.9% compared to the previous three months, the second quarter of 2016 already signaled a noticeable upward trend, ”said Axel Mattern, co-managing director of Port of Hamburg Marketing. This positive trend is also demonstrated by a comparison of the second quarters of 2016 and 2015, which shows growth of 0.7%. The evolution of rail traffic between seaports and the hinterland is also very encouraging. Mattern: “We have established that in the first half of 2016, the quantity of freight transported in an environmentally friendly manner by rail reached 23.8 million tonnes, which represents a real increase of 3.9%. Hamburg further strengthens its position as the largest rail port in Europe.

With 4.5 million TEUs (20-foot standard containers) in the first six months of the year, container throughput was slightly lower than the previous year. Yet the collapse in container traffic with China and Russia reported last year has been almost completely stopped. Despite the maintenance of foreign trade sanctions, for example, 216,000 TEUs were transported between the port of Hamburg and Russia, which represents an increase of 2.3%. Container traffic with China has also grown more steadily, just – 1.0% – below the previous year’s figure at 1.3 million TEUs. The growing importance of India is also very satisfactory, which, with 128,000 TEU – up 9.9% – ranks eighth in the ranking of Hamburg’s main trading partners for container handling. Further positive throughput trends were reported for container traffic with Finland (up 4.3%), United States (up 7.3%), United Arab Emirates (up by 14%) and the United Kingdom (up 13.1%). The main explanation for the 1.2% drop in total container throughput was the decline in transshipment services with ports in Poland and Sweden handling calls from more direct container services. The fall in container handling in the first half of the year was 5.6% with Scandinavia and 5.7% with Poland and the Baltic States.

The bulk cargo throughput in Hamburg for the first half of 23.3 million tonnes – down 1.4% – saw different trends for imports and exports. On the import side, the total for the first half of 17.1 million tonnes represents an increase of 6.7%. On the export side, the total bulk cargo throughput at 6.2 million tonnes – down 18.3 percent – remained well below that of the previous year. Import growth was fueled by a 25.6% increase in sucked cargoes to 2.2 million tonnes and 20.8% to 5.5 million tonnes in the liquid cargo segment. Among suction cargoes, imports of oilseeds increased 28.8 percent to 1.8 million tonnes. Among liquid cargoes, imports of petroleum products stood out with 65.4% to 5.1 million tonnes. Besides the closure of a large important refinery in Hamburg, this was caused by stronger domestic demand which boosted imports of petroleum products. In total, the liquid cargo segment grew 6.5% to 7.2 million tonnes. Despite a 1.8 percent drop in the first half of 2016, for the Port of Hamburg, seized cargoes totaling 11.3 million tonnes remained the most important bulk cargo handling segment. Imports of coal and coke, down 3.7 percent to 3.7 million tonnes, and ores, down 6.2 percent to 5.0 million tonnes, failed to keep up. reach the total solids of the previous year. Lower demand from power plants and the steel industry deserves to be mentioned here as the reason for the decrease in throughput.

There are various reasons for the development of the exports of sucked and liquid cargoes. Along with the decline in crop-related cereal exports, which were significantly – 34.4 percent – lower than the previous year to 2.1 million tonnes, a drop also occurred in commodity exports. oil tankers. The drop in throughput of 1.0 million tonnes – down 36.3% – is mainly explained by the previously mentioned shutdown of a Hamburg refinery and the halt in exports of petroleum products from there. For export, the clamshell segment generated a recovery in sea freight throughput in the first half of the year. Exports of building and scrap materials as well as 1.4 million tonnes (up 2.5 percent) of fertilizer combined to produce growth in this segment from 5.8 percent to 1.9 million tons.

The throughput of non-containerized general cargo, oversized plant parts and ro-ro cargo, for example, remained lower than in the previous first half of the year at 815,000 tonnes, down 6.9%. On the import side, reaching 273,000 tonnes but 5.6 percent lower, growth in timber imports, project shipments and citrus did not offset declines in paper, metal and the vehicles. Regarding conventional general cargo shipments, which are estimated to have declined 7.6 percent to 542,000 tonnes, growth in iron, steel and timber did not offset the decline in vehicle exports.

Ingo Egloff and Axel Mattern, co-managing directors of Port of Hamburg Marketing, made special mention at the press conference of the excellent development of rail services between the seaport and the hinterland of Hamburg. During the first half of 2016, a total of 23.8 million tonnes of freight were transported to and from the Port of Hamburg by rail, an increase of 3.9%. Container rail transport in the first half, at 1.2 million TEUs, was also up 2.1%. “With the agreement of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030, essential projects for the Port of Hamburg have been included under the heading ‘Priority needs’. For Hamburg, the most important project is the southern connection between the A1 and A7 motorways, known as the harbor side motorway. So that the port continues to expand and remains competitive in its many functional areas, in addition to the development of efficient access and dispersion corridors for the transport of goods by rail, truck and inland navigation vessels, the dredging of the channel of navigation on the Lower and the Outer Elbe remains essential, ”said Ingo Egloff.

The Port of Hamburg is the largest universal port in Germany and guarantees more than 155,000 jobs in the metropolitan region of Hamburg. The port is also an important industrial site, with a total added value of 21.8 billion euros of immense importance for the entire German national economy. For 2016, the marketing organization of the Port of Hamburg expects a total sea freight throughput of 138 million tonnes and a container throughput of around 9 million TEUs. The positive trend was confirmed by the good turnover of the second quarter.


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