Original news was published 18 November, 2017
In the year to the end of Q3 2017, the port handled a total of 104.3 Mt of seaborne cargo, with containerised traffic up 0.4% in unit terms to 6.8M TEU
For loaded boxes, the port achieved a 1.2% increase to 5.8M TEU, reported Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, at the port’s quarterly press conference. By contrast, handling of empty containers at 924,000 TEU was 4.3% lower than in the previous Q1-Q3 period.
Referring to the still unimplemented dredging of the Elbe fairway as one reason for the downturn in empty box handling, Mattern cited market research by Port of Hamburg Marketing indicating that restrictions on the Elbe applying to Hamburg plus limited tidal ‘windows’ are causing shipping companies are to use available slot space on their mega-containerships for loaded boxes as a matter of priority. Empty containers are increasingly being routed via other ports in Northern Europe, he said.
Among Northern Europe’s major ports, Hamburg’s container throughput features the lowest proportion of empty boxes at 13.7%, and at 86.3%, the highest for loaded containers.
"With the navigation channel adjusted, we could increase both container and bulk cargo throughput in Hamburg. We therefore continue to closely monitor the downturn in empty box handling. From the angle of value added, which on handling loaded boxes can be seen as higher for the port, our throughput of loaded boxes underlines Hamburg’s attractiveness as a Northern European hub port."
Of the 6.8M handled, 3.5M TEU were import containers (up 0.7%) and 3.2M TEU export containers (up 0.1%). The upward trend in container traffic with China, Hamburg’s leading trade partner by a wide margin, was maintained, with 2.5% growth to 2.0M TEU.
Looking ahead, for Port of Hamburg Marketing, the excellent trend in container traffic with Canada is a gratifying pointer. The port’s marketing organisation sees the CETA free trade agreement as providing an additional boost for seaborne trade that will benefit the Port of Hamburg.
Once ratified by the parliaments of EU countries, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada that provisionally came into force on 21st September will simplify foreign trade. Customs dues will be scrapped on 98% of goods traded, and import and export restrictions will very largely be discarded. Alignment of industry standards through standard regulations for many goods will also make trading simpler.
With trade volume put at around €64B, Canada is among the EU’s Top Ten trading partners. Germany’s trade with Canada totals around €14B. Canada takes 13th place among the Port of Hamburg’s trading partners for container transport. The Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia is a member of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
With calls by containerships with slot capacities of between 14,000 and 17,999 TEU increasing by 36.9% to 167 and those by even larger vessels (18,000-20,000+ TEU) up by 87.8% at 77, the number of particularly large containerships seen in the Port of Hamburg further increased. Making maiden calls, among the latter were mega-carriers MOL TRUST with slot capacity of 20,170 TEU and MUNICH MAERSK (20,568 TEU).
With around 2,000 container train services per week, Hamburg is Europe’s largest rail port. With something over 611,000 TEU being brought into or moved out of the Port of Hamburg by rail, Q3 produced a record figure, 8.8% higher than the Q2 figure.
For the first nine months as a whole, rail transport totals of 34.4 Mt (down 2.9%) and around 1.8M TEU (down 2.0%) were recorded. Up to 220 freight trains with up to 5,900 wagons are cleared daily in the Port of Hamburg. Around 11% of total German rail freight traffic originates or terminates in the Port of Hamburg.