Port of Hamburg, Germany’s largest universal port, saw seaborne cargo throughput in the first quarter of the year at 31.9 million tons, representing a 7.9% drop on 2019, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Container handling at 2.2 million TEU was 6.6 % lower, while container hinterland transport services remains comparatively stable.
While the Port of Hamburg remains fully operational, the slackening of import and export flows can be explained by the interruption to transport and supply chains caused by corona crisis.
The partial shutdown of the Chinese economy, resulting in blank sailings in shipping, has led to lower cargo handling in Hamburg as well,
…explained Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
In the container handling segment, a total of 2.2 million TEU – 20-ft standard containers – were loaded or discharged across the quay walls of the Port of Hamburg during Q1, representing a 6.6% downturn on the previous year.
Among the Port of Hamburg’s most important partner countries by volume on seaborne container traffic, Q1 trends varied a great deal.
At 579,400 TEU, the total number of containers handled in the Port of Hamburg for China, its most important trading partner, was 14.6% lower, which is explicable in connection with the repercussions of the corona crisis, noted Mattern.
Following in second place in the ranking of Hamburg’s container partners, the US accounted for 146,100 TEU, still reporting 20.7% growth.
This is attributable to four container services newly started from Hamburg at the beginning of 2019, explained Mattern.
In third place with 111,000 TEU, Singapore also achieved an advance in the first three months of the year. Growth of 10.5% was reported for seaborne container traffic. This can be explained by the transfer of transshipment services from other Asian countries to Singapore.
By contrast, the transshipment sector or container throughput between ocean-going and feeder vessels saw a decline of 10.8% to 772,000 TEU.
Seaport-hinterland container services by rail, truck and inland waterway craft proved more stable in Q1, with volume just 4% lower at 1.4 million TEU.
Meanwhile, railborne freight transport, down 4.3% at 11.9 million tons, or 4.6% at 663,000 TEU on Q1, was still at a considerably higher level than the 612,000 TEU for I/2018.
Meanwhile, Q1 throughput of bulk cargoes was 11.9% lower at 9.4 million tons. In this throughput segment, exports performed well, being 11.9% higher at 2.7 million tons.
The trend was sustained by notable increases in exports of grain, up 177.2% at 694,000 tons, and of fertilizers, 8.1% higher at 638,000 tons.
From June, it is entirely possible that with a gradual pick-up in the economy in China and Europe, we shall be seeing an increase in sailings and rising volumes on port throughput and seaport-hinterland services,”