Handling Declines 5% at Port of Kiel
The Port of Kiel handled 2.36 million tons of cargo in the first half of this year, 5% less than in the same period of 2008. The above-average decline was recorded in the breakbulk sector, which was comparatively hard hit by the current economic crisis. Against this background there has been a positive handling trend in ferry traffic since the second quarter. In June breakbulk handling also reached the level of the previous month. Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co KG), said “in the wake of a weak first quarter, one main contributor to handling which is now again showing a positive trend was our entry into the container handling sector. Given the general economic situation, we can be satisfied with this handling result”.
Since mid-March, Kiel has operated a regular container service to and from Riga. The foundation of this is the transport of ferro-alloys, a valuable aggregate supplement for the west European steel industry. “Even if current handling volumes are not as high as expected due to the current economic situation, an important step has nonetheless been taken in the development of the port,” said Dirk Claus. To make container handling possible, a high-capacity port mobile crane was specially acquired. Capable of lifting loads of up to 140 tons, the crane has an outreach of more than 50 metres. This means that it can load or unload all current types of ship operating in the Baltic across their complete breadth. As well as containers, the new crane also handles heavy cargo and project loads.
The handling of bulk cargo has also developed positively in Kiel. The export of agricultural products and the import of fuels are now both higher than they were last year. In the breakbulk sector, the operation of the new RoPax ship “Lisco Maxima” since May on the Kiel-Klaipeda route has made a big difference. “The new ship has the potential to switch a lot of Baltic cargo from the roads to the sea. In addition, the expanded capacity offered for passengers to the Baltic region has also already been well-received,” Claus said. Kiel is also reporting increased passenger totals in the cruise sector, because of the ever-bigger ships now calling at the port. In the first half of the year about 760,000 passengers passed through Kiel.