Port achieves 4.8 percent growth

With total throughput of 145.7 million tons, representing growth of 4.8 percent, the Port of Hamburg achieved its best-ever result in 2014.

Up by 6.1 percent at 102.7 million tons, general cargo throughput was outstanding. A 1.7 percent increase in bulk cargo throughput to 43.0 million tons also contributed to the new record for Germany's universal port.

In 2014 the Port of Hamburg set a new record for seaborne cargo handling. Never before had such cargo volumes been loaded and discharged in the Port of Hamburg.

"Internationally, Hamburg belongs in the Champions League of world ports, achieving above-average growth compared to its European competitors," emphasized Axel Mattern of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM)'s Executive Board in presenting the port's results.

"I am very pleased with the annual result. It shows how important it is to develop and implement intelligent solutions for the port. With our smartPORT strategy, we are set on precisely the right course for the future of the Port of Hamburg," says Jens Meier, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority.

"That suggests excellent site coordination and tremendous flexibility in the port and transport industry, which made tremendous efforts to maintain reliability in providing their services in the face of tough restraints on cargo transport and handling," says Axel Mattern.

At 9.7 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), Hamburg's container throughput achieved a gain of 5.1 percent, above average for ports in Northern Europe while remaining just below a fresh record 10 million TEU mark that is now the aim for 2015. Strong growth in container throughput is primarily attributable to a 9.8 percent jump in container services with China. With around 3.0 million TEU, the Middle Kingdom is Hamburg's most significant partner for container transport.

Among Hamburg's Top Ten trading partners, Poland with 395,000 TEU (up by 22.6 percent) and India with 232,000 TEU (up by 14.9 percent) both posted fresh throughput records for container traffic. Overall, the development of transhipment services in the Baltic region, that in 2014 only reached slight growth of 0.5 percent, was affected by the anticipated downturn in container traffic with Russia. Hamburg's second largest market partner on container services may have held its place. However, the weakness of the rouble and the repercussions of trade sanctions meant that throughput in 2014 did not exceed 662,000 TEU (down 7.8 percent).

"In 2014 Hamburg's feat of boosting container throughput by 5.1 percent meant that it did extremely well by comparison with its European competitors. Hamburg is gaining market share in this segment. Average container throughput in the major ports of Northern Europe was up by 4.2 percent. Hamburg has thus consolidated its position as Europe's second largest container port. In the worldwide ranking of container ports, Hamburg remains in 15th place," explained Axel Mattern. Mattern also pointed out that in handling 8.5 million TEU of loaded containers (up by 5.5 percent), Hamburg has been able to report an additional record in 2014. At 87.0 percent, of Europe's major container ports Hamburg achieved the highest proportion of loaded boxes in its throughput totals.

Throughput of non-containerized general cargo reached 2.0 million tons (up by 3.8 percent) in 2014. Growth was fuelled by exports of iron, steel, paper and timber, and a notable 19.6 percent increase in imports of tropical fruit that reached 188,000 tons.

In 2014 bulk cargo throughput rose by 1.7 percent to a total of 43.0 million tons, contributing with a share of 29.5 percent of total throughput to the Port of Hamburg's excellent result on the year. Suction cargo at 8.2 million tons (up by 1.5 percent) and grab cargo at 20.4 million tons (up by 3.5 percent) helped to produce a fresh rise in throughput of seaborne cargoes in 2014. Growth was powered mainly by coal imports at 6.1 million tons (up by 6.9 percent) and ore imports at 9.9 million tons (up by 4.4 percent).

Apart from lower imports of crude oil, the downturn here was caused by slight falls in imports of palm and soya oil as well as chemical products, and restructuring at a leading Hamburg refinery. So 12.8 percent growth in exports to 4.5 million tons was not sufficient to offset decreases in liquid cargo imports.

Source and Image Credit: Port of Hamburg