The corona pandemic has significantly affected throughput trend in Port of Hamburg, Germany’s largest universal port. In the first six months of the year, seaborne cargoes loaded at its terminals totaled just 61.2 million tons, representing a 12% downturn.
Both the main elements of throughput were hit, being well down on last year’s figures. General cargo handling was 12.2% lower at 42.5 million tons, bulk cargo handling 11.7% down at 18.7 million tons. In the container handling segment, a total of 4.1 million TEU – 20-ft standard containers – were shifted across the quaywalls, a 12.4% fall on the previous year.
We are naturally not pleased about this trend, but the drop in first-half throughput caused by the pandemic seriously affected all ports in Northern Europe. Owing to the weakness of the world economy and some withdrawals or considerable delays of global supply chains, as expected the effect turned out to be more severe in the second quarter than in the first three months,
…said Axel Mattern, Joint CEO, Port of Hamburg Marketing.
The largest volume fall on the previous year occurred on imports. These were 16.3% lower in the first six months at 33.7 million tons, being considerably weaker than exports totalling 27.5 million tons, the downturn here being limited to a single-figure 6.1%.
On the import side, reduced steel production, in particular, led to lower throughput of ore and coal. Downturns of 24 and 10.5% were recorded for the part-segments grab and liquid cargoes. In the suction cargo segment, by contrast, first-half agribulk throughput soared by 30.8% to 4.1 million tons. Considerably higher grain and fertilizer exports were the main reason for the excellent first-half throughput trend.
On container handling as reflected in volumes with the Port of Hamburg’s top ten trading partners, the trend for the first six months varied a great deal. Except for Denmark, six countries here reported substantial double-digit downturns.
The 16.4% collapse in seaborne container throughput with China, Hamburg’s top trading partner by a wide margin, proved impossible to offset through positive trends with other countries.
Besides China, downturns in seaborne container throughput were also reported with Russia -14.9%, Sweden -13.3%, South Korea -14.4%, Denmark -2.7%, and Poland -10.5%.