Despite the difficult economic climate, the Port of Kiel handled 4.86 million tons of cargo in 2009, nearly reaching its 2008 handling figure of 4.91 million tons. Individual business sectors developed in different ways. The handling of bulk cargo, containers and conventional breakbulk bound Lithuania was up while ferry traffic to and from Scandinavia and Russia posted declining volumes. Kiel was in fact even able to show a small increase in the passenger transport sector, handling 1.88 million passengers in 2009 against 1.85 million in 2008 as the port’s significance as a sea tourist hub also continues to grow.
In terms of cargo handling, the Ostuferhafen is the strongest facility in the Port of Kiel, handling 2.3 million tons last year, 11% more than in the previous year. In March 2009, regular container handling began in the Ostuferhafen. The new container business is based on the import of ferro-alloys, which are high-value supplements for the west European steel industry and reach Kiel via Riga from Kazakhstan.
In 2009 Kiel further consolidated its position as Germany’s most popular cruise shipping port. There were 115 calls by 21 different cruise ships. For the first time, more than 290,000 travellers left or boarded cruise ships in Kiel. The trend to very big cruise ships continues. At peak periods, the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal alone was handling more than 9,000 passengers inside just a few hours. According to current information, Kiel will this year again surpass its previous good figures. To date, 138 ship calls have been registered for the summer cruise season 2010, which will open on April 28th with the arrival of the Mona Lisa. Visiting Kiel for the first time this year will be the AIDAcara, which is expected at the Ostseekai on no fewer than 21 occasions. The most frequent guests however will be the vessels of the MSC Shipping Company, among them MSC Poesia.