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Port of Hamburg resumes growth course

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Dry Bulk,

In 2016, Germany’s largest universal port achieved a turnaround in seaborne cargo throughput, reaching a total 138.2 million tons in the general and bulk cargo segments.

“Seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg again developed upwards with an increase of 0.3%. Stronger general cargo throughput offset a slight downturn in bulk cargo throughput. The Port of Hamburg is also contemplating a positive trend for 2017,” said Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. The successful development of seaport-hinterland transport by rail was maintained.

“Hamburg is further extending its position as Europe’s leading rail port. In 2016, 46.4 million tons of freight (up 1.5 %) and 2.4 million TEU (up 2.4 %) were transported in/out of the port by rail. We are delighted about this record result. Now at 46.6 %, the proportion of freight transported by rail received a further boost,” said Ingo Egloff, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.

After an initially modest start at the beginning of the year, container throughput picked up during the second half, achieving a 1.0% advance over twelve months to 8.9 million TEU. At 91.7 million t, total containerized cargo volume rose by 1.2 %. The container traffic with Asia that is of such special importance for the Port of Hamburg was up by 1.3 % at 4.7 million TEU. Also dominating in Hamburg, container throughput with Chinese ports made good progress, increasing by 1.6% to 2.6 million TEU. Container services on trade routes with North and South America were 2.9 % ahead at 1.2 million TEU. Handling 2.6 million TEU, the European container trade remained at the previous year’s level. A gratifying 4.5 % increase took container traffic with Russia up to 453 000 TEU. ‘Despite trade sanctions remaining in force, Russia returned to second place (2015: third) among the Port of Hamburg’s container transport trading partners,’ reported Ingo Egloff. As before, direct calls by container liner services in Gothenburg and Danzig caused downturns in Hamburg’s seaborne container throughput with Sweden, 10.6 % lower at 243 000 TEU, and Poland, down by 9.7 % at 214 000 TEU. Totalling 1.8 million TEU, container services with the Baltic nevertheless remained at the previous year’s level. Up 2.0 % at 241 000 TEU, India’s continuingly growing importance remained very satisfactory. The country now takes tenth place in the list of Hamburg’s top trading partners for container transport. Other positive trends in container traffic can be reported with the USA, 11.1 % up at 363 000 TEU, United Kingdom, 12.6 % up at 246 000 TEU, United Arab Emirates, 11.1 % up at 234 000 TEU, and Mexico, 17.8 % higher at 74 000 TEU.

On both imports and exports, the Port of Hamburg’s throughput balance for 2016 reflected growth. At 4.6 million TEU, imports were up by 1.2%, while exports at 4.3 million TEU scored a 0.7 % advance. ‘Despite lower transhipment-container services by feederships to/from Sweden and Poland, on total throughput the port can report an upward trend for both imports and exports. Growth was primarily generated by container services with Asia and the Americas,’ explained Mattern.

On bulk cargo throughput, accounting for throughput of 44.9 million t (down 1.3 %) in Hamburg in 2016, imports and exports fared differently. On the import side, a total of 33.4 million t represented a gain of 3.0 %. On exports, at 11.5 million t bulk cargo throughput was down on the previous year by 11.9 %. Ensuring import growth were the following segments: suction cargoes – oilseeds, grains & feedstuffs – that were 7.8 % higher at 4.3 million t, and liquid cargoes that rose by 9.7 % to 10.7 million t. Here the main cause of the increase was a 29.4 % advance to 9.7 million t in imports of oil products. Mainly involving coal and ores, grab cargo throughput was slightly – 1.4 % – down to 18.5 million t on the previous year. At 11.5 million t, exports in the suction, liquid and grab cargo segments were down by 11.9%, for various reasons. Apart from the harvest-related downturn in grain exports, down by 23.2% at 3.2 million t, another in oil products was also recorded. At 2.2 million t, these were 20.6% lower than in the especially strong previous year, primarily as the result of the closure of a major refinery in Hamburg, where oil product exports ceased. At 3.5 million t – down by 0.5% – the result on grab cargoes almost matched the previous year.

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Dry bulk shipping market