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  • Port of Hamburg container throughput up 1.8 percent to 2.2 million TEU in Q1 2022
  • 2022 May 18 16:18

    Port of Hamburg container throughput up 1.8 percent to 2.2 million TEU in Q1 2022

    The first quarter of the year brought very different trends for cargo handling, and traffic, for the Port of Hamburg, according to the company's release.

    At 2.2 million TEU – 20-ft standard containers, throughput was up 1.8 percent. Down by 2.8 percent, total seaborne cargo handling at 31.2 million tons was slightly lower than in the same quarter of the previous year. The repercussions of the sanctions against Russia only effective from March were not yet apparent in all the handling segments for Germany’s largest universal port in the first quarter.

    Mattern pointed out that in the first quarter repercussions were already apparent in the general cargo sector, but that is meanwhile more obviously true in virtually all handling and industry segments.

    Railborne freight traffic again developed very well. During the first quarter, at 12 million tons the Port of Hamburg Railway handled 1.6 percent greater volume. At 0.7 million TEU, 1.4 percent more containers were transported. “The Port of Hamburg once again confirmed its capability as leading rail port. That was impressively underlined in January with record figures of 60,000 TEU per week and 231 train moves per day.

    Rail’s share of the modal split for container transport in Hamburg is meanwhile around 51.5 percent. Trucking takes 46.1 percent and inland waterway shipping, 2.4 percent.

    Totalling 22.5 million tons, general cargo throughput in the first three months of the year rose by 0.6 percent. Generating much added value, conventional general cargo handling at 0.4 million tons was up by a juicy 47.7 percent. Down 10.6 percent at 8.7 million tons on the same quarter of the previous year, bulk cargo handling throughput was weaker. Within this segment, grab cargo throughput was 11.7 percent lower at 4.9 million tons. Downturns in fertilizer exports and lower imports of coal, coke and ore were the main factors there. In the agribulk area, 1.6 million tons of suction goods were handled, the 5.2 percent downturn being mainly attributable to lower throughput of oleaginous fruits that was not completely offset by higher imports of grain and feedstuffs. In the liquid cargo segment, at 2.3 million tons first-quarter throughput was 11.7 percent down, lower imports being the main reason.

    Among the Port of Hamburg’s Top Ten countries for container handling, there was no change among the first three. First-quarter container handling with China totalled 0.7 million TEU, representing a gain of 6.2 percent. China strengthened its position as Hamburg’s most significant trading partner by a wide margin.

    Following below China in the ranking of Hamburg’s trading partners for container handling came the USA - down 5.7 percent, Singapore – up 9.1 percent, Poland - up 45.2 percent, Sweden - up 10.4 percent, Russia - down 29.3 percent, and Great Britain - down 2.9 percent. These leaders in the Top Ten are followed by Finland - up 37.9 percent in eighth place, Brazil barely - 0.1 percent - changed in ninth, and Denmark - up 6.6 percent - in tenth.

    The first quarter of last year brought a slight fall in the number of calls by vessels with containerized cargoes. Yet Megamax vessels with over 18,000 slots were calling the Port of Hamburg much more frequently than in earlier years, incl. pre-crisis 2019. Calls by VLCSs - very large containerships with capacities of between 8,000 and 10,000 TEU - were also up to a respectable extent.

    The final stage of the fairway adjustment also received the go-ahead at the end of January 2022. This produced additional improvements for large vessels and distinct advances for those of medium size. The advantages of the widened and deepened navigation channel offer both opportunities for loading additional cargo, and greater flexibility on arrival and departure, permitting distinctly more efficient use of the Port of Hamburg. Fairway adjustment was well received by the port’s customers. Large containerships have been reaching and leaving the port with a greater draft ever since May, 2021.

    In estimating the further trend in throughput for 2022, the Port of Hamburg’s marketing organisation remains cautious. Yet some growth in specific segments and individual container trades is entirely possible. Yet the overall result will be shaped by the anticipated downturn in throughput segments affected by sanctions.

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