At 99 million tons, in the first nine months of the year throughput in the Port of Hamburg advanced by around 11 percent. This excellent, above-average result on throughput enabled the Port of Ham-burg to recover market share in competition with the major ports in Northern Europe.
Totalling 6.8 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), throughput in Hamburg grew at a double-digit (15.3 percent) rate and hence distinctly faster than in the West ports of Antwerp (up 3.1 percent) and Rotterdam (up 7.7 percent).
The upward trend in the Port of Hamburg’s seaborne cargo throughput was also maintained in the third quarter of 2011 with a total throughput of 99 million tons. Compared to the same period of the previous year, in the first nine months of 2011 altogether 9.4 million tons more seaborne cargo (up by 10.6 percent) were handled. In recent months Hamburg has suc-ceeded in winning back market shares of the order of one percentage point lost during the worldwide economic and financial crisis to the West ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam lying further.
On the import side, Port of Hamburg Marketing, the Port of Hamburg’s marketing organiza-tion, put throughput at around 58 million tons (up by 11.6 percent). Exports via Hamburg at 41 million tons (up by 9.2 percent) also developed favourably. At 69 million tons, the general cargo throughput that predominates in Hamburg displayed super-strong growth of 14.7 per-cent. Totalling 30 million tons (up by 1.9 percent) throughput in the first nine months of the current year also contributed positively to total cargo handling in Germany’s largest universal port.
Since the second half of 2010 a continuous improvement has occurred in Container throughput in the Port of Hamburg, with evaluation of the first nine months of 2011 indicat-ing renewed double digit growth with an advance of 15.3 percent. Altogether 6.8 million TEU were handled at the Port of Hamburg’s container terminals during the first nine months. The Port of Hamburg’s outstanding attractiveness was also reflected in the evenness of the de-velopment of container imports and exports. In the first three quarters of 2011, 3.5 million TEU (up by 15.6 percent) were handled in Hamburg on the import side, and 3.3 million TEU (up by 14.9 percent) on the export side. All trades involved in container traffic with Hamburg developed positively in the first nine months and achieved volume growth. European trades with 2 million TEU achieved a gain of 23.1 percent. Baltic trades with Scandinavia (690,000 TEU) and the countries of Eastern Europe, including Russia, (785,000 TEU) reported out-standing throughput figures representing growth of 13.8 percent and 44.0 percent, respec-tively. With 3.9 million TEU involving a gain of 10.6 percent, in the first nine months the Asia trade that is of special importance for the Port of Hamburg maintained its steady upward trend. Container trades from and to America achieved a total of 733,000 TEU (up by 24.8 percent). Thanks to additional liner service connections for the Port of Hamburg, container traffic with the USA performed extremely strongly, with growth reaching 65.4 percent. In the first three quarters of the year around 198,000 TEU were accordingly transported on this trade route, bringing the USA up from 13th to 7th place among the Port of Hamburg’s top trad-ing partners for container traffic. Africa as a container trade produced 162,000 TEU (up by 7.5 percent) and Australia/Pacific with 29,000 TEU scored a gain of 3.3 percent.
Throughput of non-containerized general cargo reached 1.8 million tons in the months January to September 2011, remaining just below the comparable result in the previous year of 1.9 million tons. The downturn is primarily attributable to imports of general cargo of tropi-cal fruits, which at 372,000 tons were down by 18.9 percent. On the import side, the strong-est growth in conventional general cargo throughput occurred in motor vehicles (up by 39.6 percent), metals (up by 35.5 percent) and paper (up by 11 percent). Higher exports of iron and steel (up by 24.1 percent) and of vehicles (up by 6.3 percent) even ensured a slight (0.7 percent) rise in conventional general cargo exports.
Throughput of bulk cargoes was up by 1.9 percent in the first three quarters of this year and reached 30 million tons. The suction cargo category that at 4.5 million tons (down 4.4 percent) remained below the comparable total for the previous year, was notable for steep growth in imports of oleiferous fruits at 2.3 million tons (up by 21.1 percent). Among grab cargoes that totalled 14.8 million tons (up by 3.7 percent) it was primarily imports of coal and coke at 4.3 million tons (up by 8.5 percent) where growth was impressive. At 10.5 million tons, throughput of liquid cargoes such as oil products and crude oil, for example, also de-veloped favourably, with an advance of 2.3 percent.
The first three quarters of 2011 produced growth in all three throughput categories, namely bulk cargo, general cargo and containers. The Port of Hamburg managed to recover strongly vis-à-vis the North Range (West) ports, achieving an outstanding result in all areas of cargo handled. “I am especially pleased that with numerous feeder services and absolutely stun-ning volume growth, Hamburg has impressively underpinned its position as the leading feeder port in Northern Europe for the entire Baltic region,” states Claudia Roller, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. In her view, headlines belonging to the past suggesting that Hamburg had already been discarded by the Baltic trade and prophesying a gloomy future, had been convincingly countered. Provided that the long anticipated adjustment of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe and the modernization and enlargement of the Kiel Canal, along with additional vital infrastructure projects, are actually implemented in the near future, then for Hamburg, the universal port of industrial character, she sees ongoing superb opportunities for developing and expanding cargo handling.
Claudia Roller is confident, anticipating double-digit growth of almost 14 percent in Port of Hamburg container throughput for the year 2011 as a whole: “For 2011 we can reckon on container throughput of around 9 million TEU. We estimate that total seaborne cargo throughput in Hamburg for 2011 will reach around 133 million tons. That would represent a gain of nearly 10 percent.”
Even if the satisfactory advance in world trade may slow down somewhat towards the end of 2011 and in 2012, Claudia Roller sees 2012 as producing a moderate upward trend for the Port of Hamburg. “China, Asia, America and the Baltic countries, all of them particularly im-portant foreign markets for Hamburg, do not currently lead us to expect that any collapses in seaborne foreign trade are in the offing,” explains Roller. In her view a slackening of domestic demand in Europe and the problems of the financial sector, while initially of European significance, need not have any direct bearing on forecasts of how worldwide foreign trade as a whole will develop. “The very positive performance of Port of Hamburg throughput pro-vides a clear signal for politicians, interest groups and the export trade that we should now be devoting all our energies, not to conjuring up crises, but to ensuring continued rapid ex-pansion of infrastructure along with the water, rail and road traffic axes that are so vital for the port. We cannot afford to lose any time in the tough competition against ports further West and must systematically build up and secure Hamburg’s attractiveness both as a port and a logistics region for the future,” is the wake-up call from the marketing chief.