Port of Kiel’s Annual Results Show a Slight Rise

Press Release
Wednesday, January 09, 2013

More than 6.3 million tons of cargo and 2.2% more passengers handled.
The Port of Kiel ended the year 2012 with a small plus in both cargo and passenger handling. Last year more than 6.3 million tons of cargo (an increase of 0.3%) were turned round for the first time. That was an increase – if only a small one – over handling posted in 2011. In the passenger sector more than 1.9 million travellers either boarded or disembarked from a ferry or cruise ship last year. That was an increase of 2.2% over the previous year.

The Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co KG), Dr Dirk Claus said “after two years of very strong growth, 2012 has reflected the general current market development situation”. A major contribution to the high handling performance was made by locally-based ferry companies, which acounted for nearly 80% of total handling. The biggest growth rate in cargo transport was posted by DFDS Seaways on the Kiel-Klaipeda route while Stena Line and Color Line both increased their totals in passenger transport to and from Scandinavia. At the same time, Kiel concluded a long-term agreement with Color Line in 2012 which gives both sides a high level of future planning security.

The year 2012 was marked by a range of different challenges. At the start of the year container handling in the Ostuferhafen was intensified and operations began on the newly extended part of the Norwegenkai Terminal. In the Ostuferhafen the still existing buildings on the former adjacent Ortopedia site in the north were razed as a preparatory step for planned port extension work.

A new Port of Kiel  logo symbol was also successfully introduced in 2012 – five ships which together make up a star. The new logo underscores our commitment to quality infrastructure and service and strengthens the international marketing image of the Port of Keil. Other developments during the year included the conversion of terminal energy supply to ecologically friendly electrical power and the complete renovation of the historic Hafenspeicher building on Kaistrasse.

Rail/ship intermodal handling posts growth

The expansion of Kiel’s rail/ship intermodal handling capacity in 2012 was of outstanding economic significance for the port. Since October complete block trains have operated twice weekly between Kiel and Verona in northern Italy, along with the daily combined transport block trains to and from Hamburg. “The introduction of complete train services has strengthened our ability to compete in hinterland transport”, said Dirk Claus. “If this positive development continues, then we will look at the introduction of further direct links”, he added.

Although by far the predominant part of hinterland transport continues to move on the roads, rail cargo transport via Kiel is also showing pleasing growth with an increase last year of more than 6%. For the first time more than 20,000 consignments – trailers, containers and swap bodies - were loaded or unloaded in intermodal rail cargo transport via Kiel in 2012. In addition well over 2,500 containers were loaded onto block trains in the Ostuferhafen. “We are in the process of further increasing the efficiency of our intermodal handling terminal”, said Dirk Claus. “In future portal cranes will be deployed in Kiel to provide even faster loading and unloading of rail wagons”, he added. These rubber-tyred gantry cranes, so-called RTGs, span three tracks at a time along with their loading lanes and will, from this year, replace Reach Stackers in the Ostuferhafen and, later, at the Schwedenkai Terminal as well.

Yard-IT makes logistics more efficient

A new software system called Yard-IT, developed as part of the German Government’s ISETEC-II research programme, is now making the processing of all logistics tasks in the port even more efficient. The introduction of the new system base, which stores all data covering the complete cycle of loading and unloading, means that hi-tech has finally arrived in the port. The new scanning gate in the Ostuferhafen has in the meantime also been integrated into the system.


Status data on load entry and exit and on the condition of loads are fed directly into a central computer. Also new is the fact that since the start of the New Year the SEEHAFEN KIEL itself has been handling some significant aspects of its own port security and service and is now using its own personnel to man the terminal gates at the Schwedenkai and Norwegenkai Terminals and in the Ostuferhafen.

Ostuferhafen handling tops three million tons

The attention of the Port of Kiel will focus strongly on the Ostuferhafen in 2013. Commented Dirk Claus: “for the first time more than 3.15 million tons of cargo – an increase of 10% - were handled last year in the Ostuferhafen. And that brings the capacity limit of the port within sight. We will carry out ongoing investment in order to continue to offer our customers future prospects for growth.”  At the core of planned measures here is the integration of an industrial area of about four hectares, located adjacent to the northern edge of the Ostuferhafen.

“We will begin construction as early as this year”, said Dirk Claus, “and be able to make the new site available to our customers from 2014”. Parallel to this the Ostuferhafen’s existing Berth One is being extensively reshaped this year so that not only cargo and ferry ships can tie up there but also big cruise ships. The SEEHAFEN KIEL, with the support of the federal German state of Schleswig-Holstein and the EU, is investing well over 12 million Euros in the expansion and renovation of the Ostuferhafen.

Third berth for big cruise ships

The 2012 cruise shipping season was a particularly long one and did not end until December 15th with the visit of “Amadea” from Phoenix Seereisen. Last year the port was visited a total of 136 times by 26 different cruise ships with a combined tonnage of well over 7.4 million GT. Almost 350,000 passengers embarked or disembarked in Kiel, among them for the first time more than 50,000 transit passengers taking part in land excursions.

After a very short winter break the 2013 cruise shipping season begins on April 13th with a visit by the “AIDAcara”. So far 127 ship calls have been registered in Kiel and the average size of the ships involved has risen again. “Even though the number of visits in the coming season is a little smaller, the number of passengers will rise because of the bigger ships”, said Dirk Claus. “We expect an increase of about 5%”, he added.

The highlight of the upcoming season is a visit by four cruise ships at the same time on the last day of the Kieler Woche Regatta on June 29th. Along with the big ferry ships, the cruise vessels “MSC Poesia”, “Eurodam”, “Astor” and “Black Watch” will dominate the port skyline. Because of the numerous visits this season by particularly big ships, not only the Ostseekai and Norwegenkai Terminals will be visited by cruise ships but also for the very first time the Ostuferhafen. That premiere will take place on June 9th when “Eurodam” ties up at Berth One while “MSC Musica” and “Mein Schiff 1” call at the Ostseekai Terminal. 

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