Port of Hamburg Boasts Record Figures despite Delays
The Port of Hamburg continues record performance handling a total of 72.6 million tons (+ 6.6 percent) in the first six months of 2014, according to the port’s results. Hamburg’s universal port with 50.7 million tons of predominantly container handling achieved a result of 4.8 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), an increase of 6.8 percent.
growth in performance for 1H2014
The largest seaports on the north European continent show an average growth in total handling of 1.8 percent and in container handling of 2.6 percent. The Port of Hamburg can look back on above average growth in container traffic, building up its market share from 25.7 to 26.7 percent.
At 51.6 million tons in the first half year general cargo handling showed a gain of 8.8 percent.
“We can see extraordinarily strong growth in loaded container handling: 4.2 million full boxes went over the quay walls in Hamburg. That is 8.2 percent more than in the previous year and more than ever before in the port’s history in a first half-year,” explained Axel Mattern, member of the Executive Board of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
At 588,000 TEU, handling empty boxes showed a slight decline of 2.1 percent. Strong exports with a total of 2.3 million TEU (+ 6.3 percent) in container handling, and comparably strong imports at 2.5 million TEU (+ 7.4 percent) are largely responsible for the generally above-average result in container handling.
Throughput in conventional general cargo also showed positive development with a plus at 930,000 tons (+ 0.8 percent) in the first half year, including 302,000 tons (+ 1.7 percent) in project and heavy lift cargo handling at the special terminals.
This was possible thanks to strong growth in imports from 33.3 percent up to 66,000 tons. The bulk cargo sector with 21 million tons shows growth of 1.6 percent. This result was especially positively influenced by growing exports of grain, petroleum, biodiesel and chemical products. On the import side there was a slight decline of 4.5 percent in throughput of suction, grabbable and liquid cargo.
“The growth in seafreight has created new jobs in the Port of Hamburg,” said Ingo Egloff, member of the Executive Board of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
HHLA has just created 50 new jobs at Container Terminal Burchardkai at the end of July, and announced they would hire new employees at Container Terminal Altenwerder. The Personnel service provider for the port GHB (Gesamthafenbetriebsgesellschaft) has created 60 new jobs this year, in order to have enough qualified personnel for continued growth in general and bulk cargo terminals.
Delayed ships and construction sites have not hindered growth
Against a backdrop of considerable ship delays all the large container ports in the North Range are presented with considerable challenges, having to cope with the consequences. The delays, on average 70 hours and more in container shipping, especially for the larger containerships with between 6,000 and 7,000 containers (TEU) handled in each ship’s call, can very quickly lead to traffic problems at the port terminals.
In addition the numerous construction sites in the Port and in the Hamburg area influence traffic flows at times.
“We are especially pleased that in spite of these difficult conditions the Port of Hamburg can be competitive in the North Range and so successful, even gaining extra cargo volumes,” says Mattern.
“ We can now already say that the fourth tube of the Elbe Tunnel, which is again in use has visibly relieved the traffic situation. The maintenance work necessary on the Köhlbrand bridge in the port is also making good progress and will be completed in October,” emphasized Mattern.
The Port of Hamburg Marketing Executive Board also states clearly that they will keep domestic and foreign port customers informed through the port representatives on particular challenges e.g. the still outstanding river channel adjustments of the lower and outer Elbe and the impact of construction work and temporary handling bottlenecks at the terminals.
The first six months were also marked by a volume increase in seaborne cargo of an unforeseeable amount, brought about by the continued growth in size of containerships. In the first half year of 2014 Hamburg received 244 ultra large containerships with slot capacities of 10,000 TEU and more.
The number of ships in this large size class calling increased in a similar period of time by 27.1 percent and clearly shows that the river channel adjustment in the lower and outer Elbe must be urgently realized for the Port and shipping industry.
“In 2014 we can reach a plus of four percent in sea cargo handling and in container handling a five percent increase, if everything goes according to plan,” forecasts Axel Mattern.
This is on condition of further growth in container traffic with China and no increasing limitations on foreign trade with Russia because of sanctions. The result for the Port of Hamburg for the year 2014 a total turnover of approximately 145 million tons and a container throughput of about 9.7 million TEU would be possible. This would top the previous record achieved in 2008 of 140 million tons of sea cargo.
Press Release, August 19, 2014