Port of Hamburg reports strong growth in seaborne cargo handling

By: | at 07:00 PM | Ports & Terminals  

With a total of 5.9 million TEU handled, the container segment recorded double-digit growth of 10.7 per cent

After a somewhat subdued upward trend for the first three months of the year, the Port of Hamburg now reflects signs of significant growth once again. The total of 89.4 million tons of cargo handled in the first three quarters of 2010 represents an increase of eight per cent over the same period of the previous year. On the import side, Port of Hamburg Marketing – the marketing organisation of the Port of Hamburg – recorded cargo-handling figures of 51.8 million tons (+11.8 per cent). Exports via Hamburg also recorded a positive trend with 37.6 million tons (+3.3 per cent). General cargo, the dominant segment in Hamburg, showed marked growth of 8.6 per cent, with a total of 60.2 million tons handled. The bulk cargo segment also contributed to the growth in the total volume of cargo handled at Germany’s biggest universal port with 29.2 million tons (+6.9 per cent) for the first nine months of this year.

In September alone, some 744,000 TEU were handled. This corresponds to an in-crease of 25.1 per cent and represents the best ever monthly container handling figures recorded since November 2008. The positive trend in container handling in Hamburg also reflects Germany’s much improved overall economic situation. According to preliminary forecasts by the German Federal Statistical Office, German exports for September 2010 were up 22.5 per cent year-on-year, and imports were 18.0 per cent higher than in September 2009.

After a difficult first quarter, container handling at the Port of Hamburg emerged from the crisis over subsequent months, and an evaluation of the figures for the first nine months of the year points to a return to double-digit growth of 10.7 per cent. The con-tainer terminals at the Port of Hamburg handled a total of 5.9 million TEU (20-foot standard containers) in the first three quarters of 2010. The decline in empty-containers handling, a result of the temporary relocation of a number of feeder ser-vice during the crisis year of 2009, has now been arrested. In the first nine months, 912,000 empty containers (TEU) were handled in Hamburg, 15 per cent more than in the same period of 2009. Figures for the handling of loaded containers (TEU) show a stable upward trend even for those first nine months, with growth recorded at 9.9 per cent and five million TEU handled.

One reason for the growth in container handling is the resumption of the China and Asia services which the shipping companies had temporarily suspended during the financial markets and economic crisis. Added to this are numerous new full-container and feeder services, like the FAL-5 service operated by the two shipping companies CMA CGM and Maersk Line, and the concentration in Hamburg of the Baltic Sea feeder services operated by the TEAM LINES shipping company, all of which resulted in a major increase in the volume of container handling in Hamburg.

In the first nine months of this year, container traffic to and from Asian regions grew by 13 per cent compared with the same period last year, to a total of 3.5 million TEU. Container trade to and from America amounted to 587,000 TEU (+13.9 per cent), the Africa route recorded 150,000 TEU (+25.7 per cent), and the European feeder and short-sea services, an important segment for Hamburg, totalled 1.6 million TEU (+3.7 per cent).

Handling of non-containerised general cargo reached 1.9 million tons (+4.8 per cent) in the months from January to September 2010. This growth is largely due to an increase in exports of project cargo and vehicles, which were up by 22.9 and 15.4 per cent, respectively.

 “The cargo-handling figures for the first three quarters of 2010 indicate that the strongly performing container segment in particular recorded double-digit growth on almost every trade route. Bulk cargo handling figures over the first nine months benefited from a massive boost in iron ore imports: they almost doubled in volume compared with the same period of the p


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