Within the EU the Port of Hamburg is one of India’s most important commercial partners in seaborne foreign trade. In November the Hamburg Joint Representative Office in Mumbai was officially opened. This is designed to strengthen economic, but also cultural and academic links between the two countries. Supported by Port of Hamburg Marketing, the Hamburg Senate and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and already functioning since the beginning of this year, the Representative Office is regarded as the contact point for representatives of the worlds of politics, commerce and culture from Hamburg and India. Thanks to the exchange of information and various events, the representative office headed by Peter Deubet, Deputy CEO of the German Indian Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai, supplies both locations with the latest news of developments in both regions.
One of the breaking news on the relationship is the inauguration of new, direct liner services between Hamburg and India. Along with the eastbound service to India, since June the Rickmers Line has once again offered a direct service from India to Europe. Together with Mumbai and Chennai, Hamburg is one of the main ports in the rotation. With aid from additional tonnage, Rickmers Line, specializing in sea transport of project cargo, heavy loads and general cargo, is building up its links with India. Altogether five new ships with crane capacities (combined) of between 240 and 800 tons have so far been added to the service. The Chipolbrok shipping company is also extending its Middle East-India service to Mumbai to the discharge port of Chennai from December 2011. Multi-purpose ships with onboard cranes with a total lifting capacity of 300 tons are deployed on this.
In addition, the Hapag Lloyd and Hamburg Süd shipping lines have further upgraded their joint service between Hamburg and India by deploying larger vessels. The seven 4,200 TEU ships so far operated on the India Ocean Service
(IOS) will be replaced by vessels with a capacity of around 5,500 TEU. As a result, more cargo can be transported between Hamburg and India. IOS serves the Indian ports of Mumbai-Nhava Sheva and Mundra.
The European Union is India’s top trading partner worldwide, ahead of the United Arab Emirates, China and the USA. With trade between Germany and India totalling 15.4 billion euros in 2010, the Federal Republic is India’s most important trading partner in Europe. The target for 2012 is a trade volume of 20 billion euros. As Germany’s leading port, Hamburg maintains an outstanding position in European seaborne trade with India. In 2010 around 2.6 million tons have been transported between the Han seatic city and India.
By comparison with the previous year, the volume of cargo handled between Hamburg and India rose by around 23 percent. About 48 percent of total tonnage is attributable to exports. The main goods shipped from Hamburg to India are fertilizers, machinery/plant, chemical products and chemical substances. Clothing and textiles, stoneware, other finished goods, chemical products and textile raw materials predominate on the import side. Imports of Indian goods rose last year by around 40 percent. Growth of nine percent was also reported for German exports to the world’s second most populous country.
Container handling is far and away the most significant feature of goods traffic between Hamburg and India. Totalling 180,000 TEU in 2010, containerized transport accounted for a dominant 85 percent share. After the first nine months of this year, moreover, with an advance of around 11 percent to 148,000 TEU, the volume of containers transported directly between Hamburg and India continued to grow. In terms of container traffic, India currently ranks 12 th among Hamburg’s trading partners. India’s leading container port is the public sector Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) that is to be expanded to a capacity of 8.5 million TEU by 2015.