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Germany’s largest port remains on growth course 16 November 2021

Impressive increase in calls by Megamax containerships

In the first nine months of the year, at 95.8 million tons the Port of Hamburg achieved a 2.9% increase in seaborne cargo throughput. Bulk cargo throughput advanced especially strongly, being 6.1% ahead at 29.7 million tons. Totalling 66.1 million tons, in the first three quarters general cargo throughput was a modest 1.6% ahead. The upward trend was also maintained on container handling. A total of 6.5 million TEU - 20-ft standard containers - were hoisted across the quay walls of Hamburg’s container terminals, a 2.4% gain.

Despite this positive throughput trend, the Port of Hamburg was not yet able to fully overhaul last year’s downturn caused by Corona. However, the Port was especially pleased that pre- and post-voyage railborne container transport set a new record at 2.1 million TEU, an 8.3% advance. At 709,000 TEU, the Port of Hamburg posted the highest quarterly total in its history for containers transported and strengthened its position as Europe’s largest rail port.

Throughput of containerised general cargo in the first three quarters of 2021 totalled 65.2 million tons, representing a gain of 1.5%. At 908,000 tons, conventional general cargo was up by an emphatic 5.2%. In the container throughput sector, exports, 2.9% up at 3.2 million TEU, outperformed imports, just 1.9% higher at 3.3 million TEU. At 5.8 million TEU, throughput of loaded containers, contributing more to the port’s added value than empty boxes, was ahead by an above-average 3.2%. Compared to the previous year, on empty containers there was another downturn, of 3.2% to 731,000 TEU.

Mattern points out that among the Port of Hamburg's main trade lanes, with the exception of Australia/Pacific (-0.1%), the other container trade lanes of the Americas (+6.7%), Asia (+1.4%, Africa (+4.5%) and Europe (+1.6%) all recorded positive throughput growth.

Growth in bulk cargo throughput is primarily attributable to the strong trend in the grab cargo segment. Ore and coal imports led to growth there of 17.8% to 16.3 million tons. Up 0.9% at 8.7 million tons, liquid cargo throughput was stable. In the suction cargo segment, at 4.7 million tons, or -15.1% lower, throughput of grain and oleaginous fruits was below the previous year’s strong total.

Trends varied among the Port of Hamburg’s leading seaborne container handling partners. A gain of 6.4% to 1.9 million TEU was achieved on seaborne container handling with China, Hamburg’s leading partner country there by a wide margin. Up 4.5% at 459,000, container throughput with the US, still the Port of Hamburg’s No. 2, is even set for a new annual record. Other Top Ten countries with increases in container throughput for the first nine months were Sweden + 9.9%, Poland + 18.8%, Brazil + 6.7% and Denmark + 4.5%.

The next countries in the ranking reported substantial growth in the first nine months: India with 21.3%t, Canada with 17.8%, and Turkey with 7.8%.