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New Transatlantic Services Put Hamburg Port Back on Growth Track

Germany’s largest universal port, the Port of Hamburg, ended the first quarter of this year with a 6.4% increase in container volumes. 

The port’s total container throughput rose to 2.31 million TEUs in Q1 2019 from 2.17 TEUs recorded in Q1 2018.

As explained, the increase is primarily attributable to four liner services new to Hamburg and linking the 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, moving the USA to the 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 Alliance’ 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 USA, Mexico and Canada,” Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, commented.

Total seaborne cargo throughput increased by 6% to 34.6 million tons in Q1 2019 from 32.7 million tons in Q1 2018.

During the first three months of this year, both general cargo throughput at 23.9 million tons and bulk cargo throughput at 10.7 million tons were up by 5.4% and 7.5% respectively.

At around 14.1 million tons, German foreign trade with the USA in the general cargo segment now constitutes the second strongest market after China which stands at around 21 million tons, according to the port.

“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,” Mattern added.

During the quarter, 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 percent – were transported by feeders to other European ports.

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,” Ingo Egloff, Axel Mattern’s Executive Board colleague at Port of Hamburg Marketing, explained.

Once the Elbe is 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 already today clearing mega-carriers with a slot capacity of more than 21,000 TEU. They are also preparing for the safe arrival and departure of even larger vessels.