Hamburg back on the growth trail

  • Surge in bulk cargo volumes boosts German port’s trade

A surge in Hamburg’s bulk cargo handling helped the German port to get back on the track in the first three months of the year.

The Port of Hamburg handled 32.8 million tonnes of seaborne cargo during the first quarter, with bulk cargo volumes, which rose 6.3 percent, contributing 10.1 million tonnes to this total.

Container traffic for its part fell slightly to 2.2 million TEU. Seaborne container services with Asia remained around the same when comparable with last year at 1.2 million TEU, while container volumes transported between the Hamburg and the Baltic region were up two percent to 541,000 TEU.

Elsewhere, general cargo throughput fell 1.7 percent to 22.7 million tonnes, with general containerised cargo following this trend in falling 1.4 percent to 22.3 million tonnes, just below last year’s figure. Handling of conventional general cargo at 435,000 tons also failed to match the previous year’s total by 17.5 percent.

In the first quarter of 2013 bulk cargo throughput was well above last year’s, with growth reported in all three segments – grab, suction and liquid cargoes. Grab cargo throughput in the first three months reached 4.9 million tonnes, representing a gain of 2.7 percent, while liquid cargoes rose 6.1 percent to 3.3 million tons, and suction cargoes 18.2 percent to 1.8 million tonnes.

While grain imports in the first quarter of 2013 also rose, volume here did not suffice to offset the decline in imports of oleaginous fruits and other suction cargoes, so that total imports of suction cargoes at 869,000 tons were 0.9 percent lower.

In a statement, the Port of Hamburg said that it is encouraged by an increase in orders from the manufacturing industry during the first quarter, which it expects to boost yearly cargo volumes. If the port is to be prepared for further growth, however, the deepening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe will be of the utmost importance.

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