Port of Hamburg holds cargo volume as Europe falters


The container throughput trend in the Port of Hamburg in the first half of 2022 held steady whilst its major European counterparts saw volume drops.

Total throughput of 4.4 million TEU in the first six months of the year represented slight growth of 0.9 per cent compared to the first half of 2021.

Compared to nearby ports of Antwerp-Bruges, Rotterdam and Bremen/Bremerhaven in Northern Europe, all reporting downturns in container handling, Hamburg was the only major port in the range to report an increase.

The EU sanctions imposed on Russia in the first half caused a 50.9 per cent drop in container handling between Hamburg and Russian ports to 79,000 TEU. Russia accordingly fell from its Top Ten ranking in 4th place to 15th place.

No change occurred among the Port of Hamburg’s three most important trading partners on the basis of throughput volumes. These were China, including Hong Kong with 1.3 million TEU, up by 5.8 per cent; the USA with 291,000 TEU, 3.9 per cent lower; and Singapore, 6.7 per cent ahead with 218,000 TEU.

Some 117 Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS) entered the port in 2022. Additionally, 8 per cent more containers were handled per ship call.

Axel Mattern, CEO of Port Hamburg Marketing said that not only war in Ukraine, but also the repercussions of the global COVID-19 pandemic, will continue to cause transport and supply bottlenecks for trade and industry.

On many routes, this is leading to longer transit times and steeply increased freight rates.

The weeklong lockdown in the Port of Shanghai, and ship arrivals thrown off schedule, resulted in extraordinary peak loads at the port’s handling terminals,” added Mattern.

“Containers not collected punctually, and blocking urgently needed handling space, involved additional effort plus problems for the efficient organisation of handling and pre- and on-carriage transport between seaports and hinterland destinations.”

During the first six months of 2022, 1.4 million TEU were transported on the Port Railway network – a drop of just 0.2 per cent compared to last year.

Along with strikes by port workers over several days, extensive construction work in the port area and on the route network were the main causes for the somewhat lower total. With a 52.8 per cent share of the modal split, rail freight transport remains the top carrier for the Port of Hamburg’s incoming and departing traffic,” said Mattern.

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