Port of Hamburg Rail Network Setting European Benchmark

In their “Best route market study for containerised imports to South Germany”, published at the beginning of March, the Drewry Group’s supply-chain consultants investigated via which ports containers imported from Shanghai can be transported fastest and cheapest to southern Germany, i.e. Munich, Freiburg, Stuttgart, Ulm and Nuremberg. In almost all markets under consideration, Hamburg comes out better than Rotterdam, Antwerp and the southern ports in the Mediterranean. Contributing to this are numerous direct services, a high departure frequency for container block trains and the fast transit times to/from the Hamburg quay wall.

Across the North Range a total of 16 Far East liner services are currently on offer from the major container shipping lines. The two leading ports in these statistics are Rotterdam and Hamburg, being called at by 15 and 13 of these 16 liner services respectively. Antwerp, however, with a total of six is served by less than half of all possible liner services.

Calculating the speed of the route for the transit time at sea is an important factor in this study. Hamburg and Rotterdam achieve an average of 33 days with a best time of 29 days.  The Port of Antwerp that is able to include the calculation for its extremely fast MSC 25-day liner service, on average achieves 36 days for its six services together. Since the study compares fastest times, Antwerp is repeatedly shown to be the fastest option in the port comparison. However, this is only true at certain times. In the overall comparison, i.e. when considering the average transit times, Antwerp falls behind Hamburg and Rotterdam.

Among the southern ports, Koper equally has a very positive 25-day liner service. Because of their geographical location, throughout the southern ports, the average transit time at sea is logically lower than for the North Range. However, the number of liner services calling at these ports lies between three and five with all ports, except Trieste, having a size restriction for containerships with a capacity of over 13,000 TEU.

In almost all target regions under consideration, the Port of Hamburg is best positioned: For transport with Freiburg, Nuremberg and Stuttgart, the southern ports have so far played no role. The three North Range ports, i.e. Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg are the only options with competitive conditions. In Freiburg, the Port of Hamburg can show its full colours, with regional shippers profiting from cheaper rates and faster, or same, transit times in comparison with Rotterdam and Antwerp on the trade route to and from Shanghai. For the Stuttgart and Nuremberg regions, the study determines that faster transit times are coupled with higher transport costs, with Antwerp offering the faster, but equally more expensive service. This, however, only applies to the ultra-fast MSC service, with its 25-day sea transit. When using any other liner service, this time-saving is non-existent in comparison to Hamburg and Rotterdam.

In the largest of the regions considered, Greater Munich, the Port of Koper can indeed be the fastest option for the shipper, but this is not without preconditions: It is only the Alliance 2M liner service, calling once a week, that creates the time advantage when twinned with the appropriate rail connection, but weighing in with extra costs of 100 USD in comparison to the routing via the Port of Hamburg for urgent goods. For non-urgent cargo, Hamburg is best positioned. Only Hamburg has numerous daily rail services, arriving directly overnight, providing the shippers with additional flexibility.

In all of the examples quoted, one of the Port of Hamburg’s great strengths comes into play: The high concentration of container train departures with the Hamburg Terminals increase flexibility, buffering the transport chain. Ulm is a good example for this: This market is only served by Hamburg and the southern Port of Trieste that only has one weekly container train service to Ulm. If this train to/from Trieste is missed, then it is either trucking or a week’s wait, cancelling out the time-saving from the shorter sea transit. Compare this to the daily scheduled train service to/from Hamburg, offering a reliable, more cost effective service to Shanghai.

Many other terminals in southern Germany, not considered in the study, demonstrate Hamburg’s overall strength across the board: Augsburg, Regensburg, Wiesau, Hof, Schweinfurt, Ingolstadt and Mannheim are just some examples for cities and towns that are just as quickly and flexibly linked to the Port of Hamburg. These target regions, partly, still have no connections to other North Range or southern ports.

According to Drewry’s experts, Hamburg is traditionally the strongest port for the southern German hinterland and will not lose this position in the foreseeable future. In 2015, more than one million TEU were handled in container transport via the Port of Hamburg for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, even going against the general trend with a light plus in comparison with the previous year. The significant transport volume and competition between the many private and public rail operators is reflected in better prices for the operators when booking track space on DB Netz – German rail’s north-south axis. Because of its excellent network of hinterland connections by rail, the Port of Hamburg is Europe’s Number One rail port.  Even under increasing competitive pressure, the Port of Hamburg will continue successfully as a pioneer for environmentally-friendly, reliable transport into the hinterland.

Foundation of the global port network ChainPORT

HPA_160405_04_Chain_Port_TreffenIn the era of global networking, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) consistently pursues the digitisation strategy for the Port of Hamburg. As host of the IAPH World Ports Conference in 2015, the HPA has implemented numerous innovative pilot projects as part of the SmartPORT concept. Based on these experiences, the thought of the future-oriented, intelligent port is further developed and an international network between ports called ChainPORT is initiated.

The global platform shall connect important information of the respective partner ports on the one hand and create a basis that allows the joined development of new, future-oriented and innovative solutions on the other. In addition to the Port of Hamburg, the Ports of Busan, Singapore, Shenzhen, Los Angeles, Felixstowe and Antwerpen are the partners in the future-oriented network. Senator Frank Horch: “The enormous increase of the international division of labour as well as the rapid growth of the global economy heavily depend on the international maritime transport. The world is getting smaller and it shows in world trade. It has never been more important to learn from one another. Even if we are competitors and rivals, we are dependent on exchanging information.” Adds Jens Meier, Chairman of the Management Board HPA: “This is a great day. With today’s event we are able to lay the foundation to further improve our network and to learn from each other so that we can create innovative ideas and solutions that provide added value to the global flow of goods and the ports.”

With ChainPORT, the HPA wants to go beyond the traditional bilateral port partnerships. In order to face the changing competitive challenges, a small group of selected, leading ports is supposed to take on subject areas and develop innovations together. The idea is to establish a global chain of smartPORTS, the so-called ChainPORTS. The objective is to bring together the port managements and their stakeholders to share benchmarks and develop strategies together on how ports can and must work together in the future to reach common goals such as the globally necessary efficiency. The shared use of intelligent systems and data with other ports ensures sustainable growth.

In addition to digitalisation and networking, the handling of the increasing container ship growth will be another important topic that presents a challenge to all ports.

A joined discussion and positioning in terms of advantages and disadvantages of the increasing vessel sizes is necessary. In the future, networking and data exchange should and must enable an even better planning of port calls.

An additional area for exchange and cooperation are environmental topics. Joined standards and the exchange of knowledge, i.e. regarding the reduction of emissions and other approaches towards greater sustainability, could be advanced further with the partners.

Considering that the first full container ship left New York for Europe in April 1966, thus starting the era of containerisation, the time has come to look back on 50 years of globalisation and use the impulses drawn for shaping the future. Standardisation and rationalisation of transports by means of containers were decisive prerequisite for globalisation.

Strong growth in container traffic

In 2015 around 295,000 TEU – 20-ft standard containers – were transported between the Port of Hamburg and intermodal terminals in Austria by environmentally-friendly rail. That represents a 9.3% gain, setting a new record for Hamburg’s seaport-hinterland services with Austria. The proportion of containers on this route transported by rail exceeds over 90%, making rail the leading mode of transport. “Austria is a model destination in efficient and environmentally friendly hinterland transport via the Port of Hamburg. About 40 container block trains per week operate between Hamburg and Vienna. Altogether more than 80 container trains connect intermodal terminals in Austria every week with Germany’s largest port,” said Alexander Till, Head of the Port of Hamburg Marketing Representative Office in Vienna.

The Port of Hamburg’s Representative Office in Vienna plus close cooperation with the partner Port of Vienna foster cooperation with transport companies and shippers in Austria. In the Austrian market, noteworthy for tough competition, this is of great importance for the Port of Hamburg, the top container port for the Austrian economy. The container ports of Bremerhaven and Rotterdam, both in Northern Europe, follow in second and third places. Southern ports on the Adriatic like Koper and Venice have so far been of less importance. “Even if the Southern ports have hitherto been unable to emerge from their generally subordinate role in throughput for Vienna, for other parts of Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, distinct increases in container transport via the Port of Koper in Slovenia are apparent. Completion of the Semmering Base Tunnel, planned for 2026, will also improve the transalpine link between these ports and the Austrian capital. These Southern ports are making matching investments in track infrastructure serving Central Europe and in greater terminal capacities,” explained Till. Planning for stronger cooperation between Austrian Railways (ÖBB) and Slovenian Railways (SŽ) has also been announced recently. This aims to shorten transit times between ports and terminals and to improve utilisation of the rail network. “The more favourable geographical location of the Southern ports for East Asia could lead to the assumption that Hamburg and other ports in the North Range will lose market shares in the next few years. Yet this is only the case at first glance, since a still minimal number of direct ship calls in the Southern ports means that most of the cargo has to be transhipped. In the end, average journey times calculated along the entire transport chain are the same with the Northern and Southern ports, while the somewhat longer sea route is irrelevant. With good, punctual services and favourable transport rates, even in the long term the Port of Hamburg will continue to position itself successfully on this market,” added Till.

Till is convinced that on container services, Hamburg will remain the most important port for the Austrian economy: “For over 30 years now, the Port of Hamburg has been the port with the highest throughput of containerized freight for the Austrian economy. Hamburg possesses a high number of direct worldwide shipping services, while Austria is extremely well linked with Hamburg by rail. The Vienna – Hamburg route is approx. 150 kms shorter than to the Western ports of Rotterdam or Antwerp. That makes the rates for pre- and post-carriage runs with the Port of Hamburg very attractive for our port’s customers in Austria.”

New Maersk fruit service to Hamburg

The Frucht- und Kühl-Zentrum (fruit and refrigeration centre) of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has acquired an additional weekly call. The first call was on 25 January. It marks the beginning of handling operations at O’Swaldkai for shipping company Maersk’s new service. On board are Colombian bananas and other fruits bound for Europe. With the new service, the HHLA fruit and refrigeration centre is further expanding its position as the most important German handling location for bananas.

The new Colombia Express reefer container service is Maersk’s second service to call at Hamburg. It will primarily transport cargo, which the importer, Fyffes, had previously shipped to Europe via Portsmouth and Antwerp using its own services. This new Maersk service will call at Hamburg in addition to these two ports.

The first ship to arrive in Hamburg as part of the Colombia Express service is the Antwerp Trader. Just like all the ships that will be used for this service, the Antwerp Trader has more than 550 reefer connection points and can therefore easily transport the intended 450 reefer containers in addition to other cargo.

A fresh breeze on the North Atlantic

Hamburg 9-12-2015Shipowner ACL is renewing its ConRo fleet on Transatlantic services between North America and Europe by bringing the first of five new and innovative ConRo vessels of the next G4 generation into service with the Atlantic Star. She will be cleared for the first time in the Port of Hamburg at O’Swaldkai on 18 December.

A member of the Grimaldi Group, ACL commenced work alongside experts on the design of the new ConRo fleet back in 2008. Later, in September 2013, initial moves on steelwork for the Atlantic Star followed at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding yard in Shanghai. The result is highly impressive. The new design offers space for 3,800 containers, while up to 1,300 cars as well as oversize and heavy RoRo cargoes can be loaded across 28,900 square metres of RoRo space. That represents a 105 percent increase of container slot capacity compared to vessels of the previous G3 class and of RoRo capacity by 45 percent. In addition, 31 percent more cars can be accommodated below deck.

This new ship design offers flexible loading possibilities for containers, cars, SUVs, large vehicles, and particularly heavy and bulky RoRo cargo. At 7.4 metres, the RoRo decks are especially high, while at 2.10 metres, the car decks are also of above-average height. If required, part of the RoRo deck space can also be utilized for containers, creating additional capacity for 739 TEU. The ship is 296 metres long, 38 metres wide and has a load capacity of 45,000 tons. Fully loaded, her draft reaches 11.50 metres. The loading ramp can accept loads of up to 420 tons. A substantial improvement has also been achieved in CO2 balance. Thanks to modern propulsion techniques, emissions per container are 65 percent lower than with ships of the preceding class.
Four further vessels of the same design will be delivered next year, namely the Atlantic Sail, Atlantic Sea, Atlantic sky and Atlantic Sun.

Port of Hamburg reports downturn in seaborne cargo throughput in first nine months

Hamburg Cruise Days und Blue Port 2014Even Hamburg as Germany’s largest universal port clearly felt the effects of weakness in Chinese foreign trade plus the steep downturn in trade with Russia during the first nine months of the year. Totalling 104.6 million tons, seaborne cargo throughput in Hamburg was 4.8 percent lower than last year. Even if bulk cargo handling in the first three quarters totalled 34.3 million tons and was therefore once again substantially higher, being up 8.7 percent, this could not fully offset the decline in general cargo throughput. Container throughput in the first nine months totalled 6.7 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), down by 9.2 percent. It proved impossible to maintain the previous year’s strong growth.

The downward trend in container traffic with Russia appears to have ceased and stability to be setting in. In the first nine months, at 323,000 TEU handling of boxes for Hamburg’s third most important partner for container traffic was down by 36 percent. Along with a weak rouble, the low oil price and the generally continuing economic recession in Russia were the main causes of the fall apparent in container throughput. “The downturn of container traffic with Russia of the order of more than one-third hit us especially hard because the bulk of all containers were transhipment containers that were loaded on to, or discharged from oceangoing containerships. This second step in handling per box and per direction of transport from feedership on to the oceangoing containership or the reverse is now only occurring to a much lesser extent, a fact also reflected in the overall statistics for containers handled in Hamburg. A recovery can hardly be expected in the near future. We assume that container throughput with Russia is now stabilizing and that perhaps the first signs of an upward trend will be apparent next year,” said Axel Mattern, Executive Board Member of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM). “These very severe fluctuations in trade with Russia are still very familiar to us as a result of the worldwide economic and financial crisis. We shall also survive this drop. The good contacts of our port representative office in St. Petersburg and our dedicated port marketing in Russia form a splendid basis for the desirable upswing in foreign trade,” added Ingo Egloff of Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Executive Board.

At the Port of Hamburg’s quarterly press conference, Axel Mattern and Ingo Egloff emphasized that apart from the downturn in the Russia trade, the weak throughput trend on container traffic with China had strongly influenced total throughput for the first nine months. Container throughput with China of 1.9 million TEU in this period represented a fall of 14.9 percent. In the months of August and September, the jump in volume otherwise caused by supplies for the Christmas trade almost completely failed to materialize. “Since China is our strongest trading partner in container traffic, and large quantities of containers are transhipped via Hamburg for transport into the Baltic region, this downturn is painful for the Port of Hamburg,” said Axel Mattern. “On top of this, the long overdue dredging of the Lower and Outer Elbe add to the difficulty of handling especially large ships better and more flexibly,” added Mattern. If Hamburg is to continue to perform its vital logistics function of hub for transhipment cargoes, deepening of the navigation channel is of the utmost urgency for Germany’s largest universal port. “Some competing ports in the North Range are specifically attacking the related trades and are taking quantities away from Hamburg because the restrictions on the Elbe constrict utilization of the transport capacities of large vessels. Arriving in or leaving the Port of Hamburg, following successful dredging of the navigation channel, which will produce one extra metre of draft, an ultra large containership could transport between 1600 and 1800 more containers (TEU) to Hamburg,” stressed Mattern. Against the background of increases in the number of calls by particularly large containerships with slot capacities of 10,000 to 13,999 TEU, which rose in the first nine months to 394 (up by 19.4 percent), and by vessels with slot capacities of 14,000 to 19,000 or more, TEU slot capacity, which reached 88 (+100 percent), the serious delay in dredging of the channel of the Lower and Outer Elbe hampers smooth access to the Port of Hamburg.

“Against the background of a somewhat weak trend in total container transport volume generally, and new handling capacities in competing ports in the North Range, we find ourselves locked in intense competition. Here we are seeing competitors in the range attempting to gain cargo in the Baltic with specific measures on prices. Isolated direct services to the Baltic region still further increase competition between container ports in Northern Europe,” explains Mattern. In the first nine months, Hamburg’s container traffic with ports in theBaltic region was down. A total of 1.4 million TEU (down 22.4 percent) were handled in Hamburg for this trade route. Since Hamburg with its strong Baltic trades can claim a relatively high transhipment rate among ports in the North Range, the downturn in Chinese and Russian cargo as part of container throughput with the Baltic region is more markedly apparent in Hamburg.  “Total container throughput in the ports of the Baltic region is affected by this downturn. A total of twelve seaports in Russia, the Baltic States, Sweden, Finland and Poland report a fall in container throughput that on average represents a drop of 18 percent on the same period of the previous year. For Baltic ports as a whole, that entailed a fall of the order of around one million TEU.

Gratifying growth in seaport-hinterland traffic

Even if Hamburg’s land-side hinterland continued to develop well during the first nine months, this was insufficient to offset the downturn in transhipment throughput by sea. Against the trend, in the period between January and September Hamburg’s seaport-hinterland traffic generally developed very gratifyingly. A total of 4.5 million TEU (up by 1.0 percent) were transported. “That is a fresh record for shore-side container transport. Rail container transport climbed to 1.8 million TEU. This 4.1 percent advance just shows that for container transport, rail is making above-average progress,” stressed Mattern.

Handling trends for general and bulk cargoes

At 1.5 million tons (down 8.5 percent), in the first nine months non-containerized general cargo throughput, of oversize plant elements and wheeled cargo for example, lagged behind the previous year’s. Despite a rise in imports, that at 428,000 tons achieved a 7.2 percent advance, throughput was lower of project and heavy cargoes, vehicles, iron and steel on the export side. At 892,000 tons, these were lower by 14.5 percent and caused a slight downturn in this segment. Metal imports, e.g. of slabs from Russia and the East Coast of South America for steel production, were the main factor behind the favourable import trend there.

The trend for bulk cargo handling differed completely from the one for general cargo and container throughput. In the first three quarters of the year, the total of 34.3 million tons (up by 8.7 percent) suggests a record figure for the full year. In this segment double-digit growth rates were based on grab cargo throughput of 16.9 million tons, up by 13.9 percent, and suction cargo throughput of 7.0 million tons, up by 13.3 percent. Of grab cargoes, the bulk comprised ore and coal imports, at 7.6 million tons and 5.6 million tons respectively. On the export side, growth of 15.1 percent in fertilizers handled produced total throughput of 2.6 million tons for the Port of Hamburg. The throughput trend was also positive for the remaining commodities in this segment such as scrap metal, building materials, stone and soil. At 609,000 tons, total throughput for this group was ahead by 25.9 percent. In the period January to September, a total of 10.4 million tons (down by 1.4 percent) of liquid cargoes were handled in Hamburg. At 4.9 million tons, down by 1.7 percent, imports of oil products accounted for the major share here. On the export side, throughput of oil products, achieving a 12.2 percent advance to 2.3 million tons, made up the bulk of the export total of 3.4 million tons (up by 1.7 percent). In the suction cargo segment, booming grain exports, 38.1 percent higher at 3.5 million tons, helped to produce the positive segment total of 7.0 million tons, up by 13.3 percent.

Prospects

The Port of Hamburg provides employment for more than 153,000 people in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. With gross value-added of 20.5 billion euros, it is also of great importance for the entire German economy. To keep the universal port on its growth course, Axel Mattern and Ingo Egloff reminded their audience that apart from dredging of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe, adaptation and upgrading of the access and dispersal corridors for freight transport by rail, truck and inland waterway vessel are essential. For the year 2015 as a whole, the Port of Hamburg’s marketing organization reckons with a continued positive trend in bulk cargo throughput and a drop in container throughput. For the end of the year, total throughput of 138 million tons (down by 5 percent) may be expected, with container throughput not quite reaching nine million TEU.

Higher first-quarter seaborne cargo throughput at the Port of Hamburg

The Port of Hamburg handled total throughput of 35.6 million tons (up by 0.1 percent) in the first quarter of 2015. Bulk cargoes at 11.7 million tons (up by 12.3 percent) and container transport between the port and its hinterland at 602,000 TEU (up by 11.1 percent) were the strongest contributors to throughput growth.

“We can be satisfied overall with the first-quarter trend in seaborne cargo throughput. Even if a slight 4.9 percent downturn in general cargo throughput at 23.9 million tons slightly dampens our satisfaction, this remains the best-ever first quarter in the port’s history,” stressed Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Executive Board Member Axel Mattern at the marketing association’s quarterly press conference.

Throughput of bulk cargoes was up in all the three segments, for suction cargoes by 19.4 percent at 2.7 million tons, grab cargoes by 17.2 percent at 5.5 million tons and liquid cargoes by 1.3 percent at 3.5 million tons. The trend was especially notable on coal imports that at 1.8 million tons increased by 64.1 percent. On the export side, the main contribution to this excellent result came from wheat, where volume handled rose by 44.0 percent to 1.62 million tons.

Container throughput for the first three months of the year at 2.3 million TEU (20-ft standard containers) remained below the previous year’s strong result, which had been unusually satisfactory, representing an advance of no less than 8.0 percent. There was a slight, 2.3 percent downturn here. This was primarily attributable to a fall in container traffic with Russia. In the first quarter a total of 109,000 TEU were transported between Hamburg and Russian ports on the Baltic. That represented a 34.8 percent fall by comparison with the same quarter of the previous year. In Axel Mattern’s view, it may be assumed that should sanctions be lifted and a recovery occur in the Russian economy, seaborne foreign trade via Hamburg will climb once again. His Executive Board colleague Ingo Egloff pointed out that the Port of Hamburg is the leading hub in Northern Europe for container services with the Baltic region and that Port of Hamburg Marketing is devoting increased attention to Baltic markets. The recent accession of the ports of Gothenburg and Bronka to the marketing association also underlines its excellent links with the region.

Above-average growth in hinterland transport

Container hinterland transport by rail, truck and inland waterway craft made above-average progress and at 1.5 million TEU attained growth of 7.3 percent. “That we are Europe’s leading rail port is no coincidence. With our intelligent transport schemes, bottlenecks should be avoided in the Port of Hamburg’s incoming and outgoing traffic. This can be achieved, for example, by greater utilization of rail for seaport-hinterland transport,” explained Egloff. In the first three months of 2015 cargoes totalling 11.4 million tons, or an increase of 8.3 percent, were transported on the Hamburg Port Railway network. At 602,000 TEU, container transport by rail grew by no less than 11.1 percent. In future, even more efficient use will be made of the port’s rail infrastructure. Neutral, overriding control, or ‘Rail Operations Management’, will take over coordination of rail services and further optimize operating processes. Together, terminal operators, the port administration and German rail network – DB Netze – aim to continually increase the quality and efficiency of the Port of Hamburg as a supply chain element. “Along with the other North German states, in Berlin we shall be urging that seaport-hinterland traffic routes should be properly catered for in the new Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. Only a high-performing and intact infrastructure will guarantee incoming and outgoing access for seaports in the interests of the entire national economy. We are also therefore hoping for a positive decision this year by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig on the implementation of the dredging of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe,” emphasized Egloff.

Both the dredging of the channel plus the expansion and modernization of transport infrastructure are of great importance for Hamburg’s future development as Germany’s leading port and logistics centre. Efficient transport links constitute the essential arteries for global foreign trade. The intelligent interchange and utilization of transport and logistics data, launched in Hamburg with smartPORT, will simplify efficient control of multimodal transport chains. Improved utilization of the existing transport infrastructure will as a result permit the acceptance and transport of additional cargo volumes.

The cruise capital of Hamburg hoisting its flags

Hamburg Cruise Days und Blue Port 2014In recent years, Hamburg/Germany has become an international hotspot for the cruise industry. This September the north German port city will bundle its cruise-themed events: based on the motto ‘Hamburg welcomes you on board’, both the general public and professionals from the cruise sector are invited to join the ten-day programme of events in Hamburg from 04 September to 13 September 2015. Highlights will include the public festival Hamburg Cruise Days and Seatrade Europe, Europe’s leading cruise industry event.

With 189 ship arrivals and around 590,000 passengers in 2014, Hamburg has firmly established itself as Germany’s leading cruise destination – and has also made it to the top in international cruise industry rankings. The City of Hamburg has been responding to this development by hosting various industry events and public events, thereby raising Hamburg’s profile as an economically successful maritime destination.

For the first time this September, several major events from the cruise sector will be collaborating: the Hamburg Cruise Days (11/09-13/09), Europe’s biggest public cruise event, and Seatrade Europe (09/09-11/09), the European trade fair for the cruise industry, are now joining forces to create the framework for a unique cruise-themed programme of events that will bring tourists, service providers and industry experts to Hamburg every other year. Alongside these two large-scale events, Hamburg will also be hosting fvw Cruise Live (11/09), the one-day travel sales event for the cruise industry, as well as two additional trade events (08/09-09/09) by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry association. The spectacular light installation Blue Port Hamburg (04/09-13/09) by light artist Michael Batz will create a unique setting for these maritime events by bathing the port and some of Hamburg’s main attractions in magical blue light for ten days.

To bring Hamburg’s residents and guests on board during the programme of events, Hamburg will be hoisting its flags in the most literal sense: during the ten days, the motto “Hamburg welcomes you on board” will be highly visible across the city and provide the guiding theme for various cruise highlights. This will be complemented by a varied fringe programme by numerous cooperation partners from the retail, hospitality and port industries. For example, this year’s Harbourfront Literature Festival in Hamburg will be held during this period, retail shops in Hamburg’s city centre will pick up on the cruise topic, while the Port of Hamburg Marketing association will offer guided port tours, enabling participants to take a glimpse behind the scenes of Hamburg’s port and cruise companies.

Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Minister of Economics, will act as patron for the “Hamburg welcomes you on board” campaign. “By bundling these highly visible events, Hamburg has the unique opportunity to sustainably strengthen its international relevance in the cruise industry and to be perceived as the cruise industry’s maritime centre of excellence by audiences worldwide,” said Mr Horch.

For ten days in September, the port of Hamburg will once again be transformed into one big stage for Europe’s major maritime events. This is where cruise experts meet stakeholders from the maritime industry, and where cruise fans and cruise ship passengers celebrate on board and on shore. Business and leisure go hand in hand – the true Hamburg way.

A vibrant port city partnership

© HHM / M. Lindner

© HHM / M. Lindner

2015 is an auspicious year for Lithuania’s port and logistics sector: the introduction of the euro is expected to lower costs and increase planning certainty, billions of euros in EU funding will speed up the expansion and upgrade the infrastructure, and a new floating LNG terminal will establish a measure of independence in terms of the country’s gas supply. At the same time, the sector faces major challenges in respect of the prevailing political and economic uncertainties in relation to its most important trading partner Russia, and the SECA guidelines that have been in force since the beginning of the year. Current developments in Lithuania provided an exciting backdrop for a joint information forum in Klaipėda, and they are opening up new areas where the cooperation between the ports can be intensified in the future.

Despite the highly volatile environment, the EU Commission projects a growth rate of 3.1 percent for Lithuania in 2015. This means that the country’s imports and exports should also increase in volume. Over the last four years, exports from Lithuania have more than doubled. The port of Klaipėda plays a vital role in Lithuania’s foreign trade. It is the country’s biggest port, and thanks to its favourable location on the Baltic Sea, it functions as a very important transport hub for Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Moldova. In 2014 more than 450,000TEU were handled in Klaipėda – an increase of 23 percent and a new record for the port. It is anticipated that additional impetus for growth in 2015 will come from EU funding programmes like the new “Rail Baltica” route between Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania and Poland.

With regular scheduled feeder and shortsea liner services, the port of Klaipėda offers very good connections to and from the Port of Hamburg. In 2014, some 84,000TEU of seaborne cargo were moved between Hamburg and Klaipėda, including both imports and exports of chemical products, food and luxury goods as well as agricultural and forestry products. The seaport of Kiel also has excellent links with Klaipėda – a ro-ro service for vehicles and other rolling cargo has been in operation between the two ports for over 22 years now. Port of Lübeck operator Lübecker Hafengesellschaft is currently in talks with prospective partners about establishing a regular service between Lübeck and Klaipėda.

Working together with the Klaipėda State Seaport Authority and the Association of Lithuanian Stevedoring Companies, Port of Hamburg Marketing hosted an inaugural information and networking event in Klaipėda on 5/6 March. The event also included a tour of Lithuania’s biggest port. Among the 150 guests were the key protagonists in Lithuania’s port and transport-related industries as well as representatives from the ports of Hamburg, Kiel and Lübeck, who have been maintaining good relationships with the port of Klaipėda for many years. Having three German partner port representatives visiting in Klaipėda at the same time was a first.

The participants were welcomed by the hosts and by the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Klaipėda, Dr. Arūnas Baublys, as well as the Mayor of the City of Klaipėda, Vytautas Grubliauskas. The keynote speeches from the representatives of the ports of Hamburg, Kiel and Lübeck, addressing matters such as the efficiency and environmental compatibility of ports, intermodal hinterland networks and the challenges looming ahead, were complemented with a panel discussion, including experts from Lithuania. The moderator for the event and for the panel discussion was Marina Rimpo, who heads the “Market Development Baltic Sea Region” division of Port of Hamburg Marketing and closely monitors developments and challenges in what represents an important market region for the Port of Hamburg.

In spite of the economic and political uncertainties in relation to Russia and Ukraine, Lithuania’s logistics sector managed to increase its added value last year. Arvydas Vaitkus, Managing Director of the Klaipėda State Seaport Authority, was delighted that the versatile positioning of Klaipėda as a universal port has proved its worth, generating a record result of 36.41 million tonnes of cargo handled in 2014. The port suffered little to no impact as a result of the decline in transit cargo to and from Russia. Christian Göllner, Managing Director of Göllner Spedition GmbH, emphasised that what counted in the transport business above all were long-term commitment and reliability, and that it was therefore particularly important for the lines of communication to partners in Russia to be kept open and that cooperation continued wherever possible. All the participants agreed on that. “Intensifying cooperation during this difficult period will help not only the Russian economy but also, and especially, the people who are greatly affected by the sanctions the loss in the value of their currency,” added Ingo Egloff, Executive Board Member of Port of Hamburg Marketing.

The next day the Lithuanian hosts invited the participants to attend presentations on plans for developing their port, to a harbour cruise, and to a general exchange of information. During the harbour cruise the guests from Germany were particularly impressed by the floating LNG terminal. “Independence” is the name given to the first LNG terminal in the Baltic Region. The terminal, which will boost the country’s security of supply, was commissioned in early 2015. Initially it will receive deliveries of liquid gas from the Norwegian company Statoil. Talks with other suppliers are already under way. The Klaipeda State Seaport Authority also has plans for providing bunkering of ships in port with LNG, as a further contribution to environmental compatibility.

“All ports, whether in northern Germany or in Lithuania, are currently operating under conditions reflecting the impact of the Ukraine crisis, a weak Russian economy and new environmental requirements. We therefore quite deliberately chose this time to stage our first joint event. Matters such as investment in infrastructure and the leasing of land affect all of us. For this reason our partners in Lithuania are hoping for more support from partners in Germany both at the political and economic level. I am very pleased that our first event has set the stage for a further intensification in our cooperation,” said Marina Rimpo in summing up after the event.

Port of Hamburg achieves best-ever throughput in 2014

treffen-der-contianerriesen-am-burchardkai_copyright_hhm-hasenpuschWith total throughput of 145.7 million tons, representing growth of 4.8 percent, the Port of Hamburg achieved its best-ever result in 2014. Up by 6.1 percent at 102.7 million tons, general cargo throughput was outstanding. A 1.7 percent increase in bulk cargo throughput to 43.0 million tons also contributed to the new record for Germany’s largest universal port.

In 2014 the Port of Hamburg set a new record for seaborne cargo handling. Never before had such cargo volumes been loaded and discharged in the Port of Hamburg. “This year of throughput records was possible because port customers and shipowners rely on Hamburg and value our port’s high quality performance. Along with its excellent liner services and links with markets in Germany and abroad, the outstanding level of performance by the port and its many providers of cargo handling, logistics and transport services continue to prove convincing for its many customers. “Internationally, Hamburg belongs in the Champions League of world ports, achieving above-average growth compared to its European competitors,” emphasised Axel Mattern of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM)’s Executive Board in presenting the port’s results. “I am very pleased with the annual result. It shows how important it is to develop and implement intelligent solutions for the port. With our smartPORT strategy, we are set on precisely the right course for the future of the Port of Hamburg,” says Jens Meier, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority.

The Port of Hamburg employs around 151,000 people. With added value totalling almost EUR 20 billion, the port is also of crucial importance for the entire German national economy. To keep the universal port on a continued growth course, in addition to the dredging and widening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe, in Axel Mattern’s view the upgrading and expansion of access and dispersal corridors for the transport of growing cargo volumes by rail, truck and inland waterway craft are vital. Axel Mattern and his Executive Board colleague Ingo Egloff underline that the fresh throughput record had been achieved despite the enormous number of roadworks in progress in the Hamburg area. “That suggests excellent site coordination and tremendous flexibility in the port and transport industry, which made tremendous efforts to maintain reliability in providing their services in the face of tough restraints on cargo transport and handling,” says Axel Mattern. Port of Hamburg Marketing discharges an essential function as an interface communicating with port customers. As part of its extensive marketing effort, HHM provides information on cargo transport and handling developments in the port and the region. “In this way we strengthen customer loyalty and deepen contacts between the business in the port and the customers. We canvass very specifically for the port itself and the Hamburg Metropolitan Region,” emphasizes Axel Mattern, who is keen to acquire many new member companies from the port and transport sectors, along with logistics and industry.

Container handling remains the backbone of good progress on throughput

At 9.7 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), Hamburg’s container throughput achieved a gain of 5.1 percent, above average for ports in Northern Europe while remaining just below a fresh record 10 million TEU mark that is now the aim for 2015. Strong growth in container throughput is primarily attributable to a 9.8 percent jump in container services with China. With around 3.0 million TEU, the Middle Kingdom is Hamburg’s most significant partner for container transport. Among Hamburg’s Top Ten trading partners, Poland with 395,000TEU (up by 22.6 percent) and India with 232,000TEU (up by 14.9 percent) both posted fresh throughput records for container traffic. Overall, the development of transhipment services in the Baltic region, that in 2014 only reached slight growth of 0.5 percent, was affected by the anticipated downturn in container traffic with Russia. Hamburg’s second largest market partner on container services may have held its place. However, the weakness of the rouble and the repercussions of trade sanctions meant that throughput in 2014 did not exceed 662,000TEU (down 7.8 percent). “In 2014 Hamburg’s feat of boosting container throughput by 5.1 percent meant that it did extremely well by comparison with its European competitors. Hamburg is gaining market share in this segment. Average container throughput in the major ports of Northern Europe was up by 4.2 percent. Hamburg has thus consolidated its position as Europe’s second largest container port. In the worldwide ranking of container ports, Hamburg remains in 15th place,” explained Axel Mattern. Mattern also pointed out that in handling 8.5 million TEU of loaded containers (up by 5.5 percent), Hamburg has been able to report an additional record in 2014. At 87.0 percent, of Europe’s major container ports Hamburg achieved the highest proportion of loaded boxes in its throughput totals.

Throughput of non-containerised general cargo reached 2.0 million tons (up by 3.8 percent) in 2014. Growth was fuelled by exports of iron, steel, paper and timber, and a notable 19.6 percent increase in imports of tropical fruit that reached 188,000t.

In 2014 bulk cargo throughput rose by 1.7 percent to a total of 43.0 million tons, contributing with a share of 29.5 percent of total throughput to the Port of Hamburg’s excellent result on the year. Suction cargo at 8.2 million tons (up by 1.5 percent) and grab cargo at 20.4 million tons (up by 3.5 percent) helped to produce a fresh rise in throughput of seaborne cargoes in 2014. Growth was powered mainly by coal imports at 6.1 million tons (up by 6.9 percent) and ore imports at 9.9 million tons (up by 4.4 percent). The positive development of throughput in the suction cargo segment was attributable to grain handling, rising by 6.7 percent to reach 3.7 million tons. Grain was exported to North and West Africa in growing quantities. Throughput in the liquid cargo segment totalled 14.4 million tons (down 0.8 percent), just failing to match the previous year’s good figure. Apart from lower imports of crude oil, the downturn here was caused by slight falls in imports of palm and soya oil as well as chemical products, and restructuring at a leading Hamburg refinery. So 12.8 percent growth in exports to 4.5 million tons was not sufficient to offset decreases in liquid cargo imports.

Fine prospects: For 2015 Hamburg aims for the 10-million mark

For 2015 the Port of Hamburg’s marketing organisation reckons with a further climb in throughput of seaborne cargoes. By the end of the year the total could reach 149.0 million tons, with the 10 million TEU mark achieved for containers. Further growth in seaborne foreign trade with core markets is however essential for achievement of these figures.

CSCL Globe in Hamburg on maiden voyage

CSCL Globe am 13.1.2015 auf Jungfernreise in Hamburg

© HHM/Hasenpusch

With the CSCL GLOBE, from 13-15 January the Port of Hamburg will for the first time be handling a 19,100-TEU vessel. She is currently the world’s largest containership operating in a liner service and is deployed in the Europe-East Asia trade. This year China will again be further expanding its position as Hamburg’s leading trading partner for container traffic. On the basis of the first evaluation of 2014 throughput figures for container traffic with China, Port of Hamburg Marketing assumes that the three-million-TEU mark will be reached.

As the new Giant of the Seas, when fully loaded the CSCL GLOBE has dimensions of around 400m length, 59m wide and a draft of 16m. A slot capacity of 19,100 TEU makes this newbuild for China Shipping Container Lines one of the world’s largest containerships. The Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea will be delivering her four sisterships in the course of this year. This enormous containership will be discharging and loading around 11,000 TEU during her first call at Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg.

“During the next few years we are reckoning with ongoing growth on the East Asia-Europe trade route and want to further expand our market share on this rotation. The Port of Hamburg plays a crucial part in this as a cargo source and transhipment hub – currently we are in Hamburg every week with seven services,” said Niels Harnack, Managing Director of China Shipping Agency (Germany) GmbH, as the CSCL GLOBE made her maiden call at Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg. He also emphasised, however, that the dredging and widening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe is urgently required so that the transport chains can be run even more efficiently. “Since the draft restrictions make it impossible for our newbuilds to sail on the Elbe fully laden, we have to leave part of the cargo in Rotterdam,” explained Harnack. One extra metre of draft on the Elbe would enable mega-containerships such as the CSCL GLOBE to transport more than 1,000 TEU more. The AEX 1 liner service on which the CSCL GLOBE is deployed, serves the following ports: Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nansha, Yantian, Singapore, Port Kelang, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Zeebrugge.

Hamburg is the Gateway to Europe for China’s foreign trade

Hamburg’s container traffic is dominated by the boxes imported from or exported to China through Germany’s largest universal port. Almost one in three of the containers handled in the Port of Hamburg originates from China or is commencing its ocean voyage to China. “After completing our evaluation of the complete throughput figures for 2014, we are assuming that we shall reach the three-million mark on container traffic with China,” forecasts Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing Executive Board Member. Totalling 2.3 million TEU in the first nine months of 2014, container traffic with China in Hamburg produced an impressive 12.8 percent growth. On both the import and export sides, food and beverages, chemical products, machinery and equipment as well as household appliances, wooden goods, paper, pulp and printed matter, metals and metal products were among the main cargoes transported.

“Continued growth in container traffic and the increasing deployment of especially large containerships in the China trade are meanwhile dramatically underlining that we are unable to wait any longer for the dredging and widening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe. Deepening of the channel must at all costs commence in 2015,” demands Mattern. During the first call by the CSCL GLOBE in Hamburg, China Shipping Vice President Yu Zenggang was confident that the requested deepening of the Elbe navigational channel and also the enlargement of the Waltershofer turning circle to 600m will be implemented. “Especially important for mega-containerships, these infrastructure measures are also of great significance for our clients, who rely on Hamburg,” emphasized Yu Zenggang.

Along with the dominant throughput volume, the total of more than 500 Chinese companies meanwhile entered in the city’s Commercial Register also indicates that foreign trade with China is deeply rooted in Hamburg. More than 700 Hamburg companies in Hamburg also maintain business relations with China. Of these, around 140 are directly represented in the People’s Republic by their own branch, an agent or a business unit. Port of Hamburg Marketing is present in Shanghai and in Hong Kong with its own representative office.

LNG Hybrid Barge Christened the Hummel

Hamburg gets an environmentally friendly alternative for supplying power to cruise ships lying at port. The LNG Hybrid Barge, Becker Marine Systems’ floating liquefied gas power plant christened at Hafencity on Saturday, is a world premiere.

Before invited guests, the LNG Hybrid Barge was christened the Hummel (Bumblebee) at Grasbrook Kai near the Hamburg Cruise Center located in the Port of Hamburg. The godmother was Dr. Monika Griefahn, Chief Sustainability Officer for AIDA Cruises. “The LNG Hybrid Barge will contribute towards making the air in Hamburg significantly cleaner,” said Dirk Lehmann and Henning Kuhlmann, both Managing Directors of Becker Marine Systems, who developed and will be operating the barge.

Thanks to the use of the floating liquefied power plant, the future cruise ships will be supplied with energy produced from environmentally-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) during their layovers at port. This fuel lowers emissions and particulates, compared to marine diesel fuel.

Sulphur oxides and soot particles are no longer emitted and the emission of nitrogen oxides will be lowered by up to 80 percent and carbon dioxide by an additional 30 percent.

As part of the christening, the first test connection was carried out with AIDA Cruises’ AIDAsol cruise ship. It is planned that starting with the beginning of the next cruise season in spring 2015, the LNG Hybrid Barge will supply AIDAsol as the first cruise ship at its home port Hamburg.

Two years after the start of cooperation between Becker Marine Systems and AIDA Cruises in summer 2012, the LNG Hybrid Barge arrived in Hamburg on 4th October 2014. Previously, at just under 77m in length and 11m in width, the Hummel had made a three week trip from the shipyard in Slovakia travelling up the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers and the North Sea to the Elbe.

Remaining work and testing of the first German seagoing vessel employing LNG technology then took place at Blohm + Voss.

Hamburg is thus the first port in the world in which Becker Marine Systems will be able to provide an external and low-emission power supply to cruise ships thanks to the LNG Hybrid Barge.

First seagoing vessel employing LNG technology under German flag

Becker Marine Systems is expecting the first LNG Hybrid Barge to soon arrive at the Port of Hamburg. The current position of the floating liquefied power plant, which in future will be supplying cruise ships with low-emission, environmentally-friendly energy during their layovers at port, can be seen on the internet.

Premiere atmosphere at the Port of Hamburg: The LNG Hybrid Barge, the first classified vessel employing LNG technology under German flag, is expected at the weekend. “If all goes well and the weather remains stable, the LNG Hybrid Barge should be arriving at its future home port of Hamburg on 4th or 5th October,” said Dirk Lehmann, Managing Director of Becker Marine Systems.

The high level of interest in the LNG Hybrid Barge can also be seen from the increasing amount of traffic at www.LNG-Hybrid.com over the past few days. The current position of the barge equipped with five generators can be seen on the website. Following the technical launch at Komárno, Slovakia one month ago, the 76.7m long, 11.4m wide and approx. 1.7m draught LNG Hybrid Barge was set off on its way towards the North Sea.

“Despite some narrow river bends and many locks, the 1,500km trip up the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers has so far progressed with no trouble at all,” said Lehmann. On land, an info bus from Hybrid Port Energy (the operator of the LNG Hybrid Barge and a subsidiary of Becker Marine Systems) has been accompanying the tow convoy.

After arriving in Hamburg, it will be dry docked at the Blohm + Voss shipyard for final outfitting and for technical testing in a multi-stage test procedure. In mid-October, the connector for supplying power to cruise ships will be handed over to cooperation partner AIDA Cruises as part of a naming ceremony. The LNG Hybrid Barge will then be connected via cable to the AIDAsol ship for the first time on a test basis. Becker Marine Systems will be announcing the exact date shortly beforehand.

It won’t be only at the home port of the LNG Hybrid Barge that the pioneering project for environmentally-friendly power supply of cruise ships will be observed with anticipation, because in the course of rising global environmental awareness and increasingly stringent regulations, Becker Marine Systems’ LNG Hybrid Barge is regarded as an innovative project for the global shipping industry.

Hamburg will be the first port in Europe to be providing an external, low-emission power supply to cruise ships. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a fuel that will enable the generators on ships to be switched off during layovers at port. This will avoid sulphur oxides and soot particles and at the same time significantly reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides and CO2.

Short sea shipping and the potential of 45-foot containers in North Range-Baltic Sea region traffic

Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM), with the help of the Bremen-headquartered Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL), has finalised a study on the existing and future potential freight volumes handled by various short sea shipping companies in traffic to/from the Baltic Sea region (BSR) as well as has investigated the main challenges for a wider use of 45-foot long containers, all of this as HHM’s contribution to the TransBaltic Extension project.

After dealing with the first obstacle of estimating the share of shortsea-land traffic in the overall container volumes, something which is not distinguished in official statistics, the ISL found out that in 2012 the total containerised shortsea-land traffic between North Range ports and BSR amounted to approx. 1.1 mln TEU, with an additional 0.2 mln TEU within the Baltic area itself (roughly the same as in 2011). Long-distance short sea shipping services cut out the biggest share, e.g. North Range-Russia up to almost 0.6 mln TEU, followed by traffic to/from Sweden and Finland (each with around 0.15 mln TEU). The use of 45’ boxes oscillated in 2012 at nearly 0.5 mln TEU across the whole North Range-BSR container trades (89 thou. TEU in Baltic alone).

However, due to the impending 1st January 2015 stricter sulphur regulations regarding ships’ fuel (SECA), ISL forecasts a freight shift onto ferries (from which the Baltic short sea shipping already faces tough competition) or onto overland routes where a viable alternative can be set up. The 2020/2030 base outlook anticipates a drop by 10 percent in containerised shortsea volumes between 2012 and 2020 and more or less a recovery to 2012 figures no sooner that after another 10 years.

The study tables also a set of countermeasures. Firstly, the emission-based bonuses, when a 30 percent fuel cost reduction would not only offset the extra costs of SECA, but also increase the shortsea potential by 17-18 percent (around 235,000 TEU in 2030). Secondly, subsidising container handlings, where a EUR 10 subsidy on handling in EU ports would add some 7-8 percent (ca. 80,000 TEU in 2020 and 100,000 TEU a decade later). Thirdly, marketing efforts in the Baltic Sea economies could provide more backhaul cargo and balance imports and exports; this would minimize empty container runs, cut costs for the benefit of short sea shipping clients and thus tip the scale in favour of container shipments (50,000 TEU in 2030). Furthermore, motivating deep-sea carriers to accept short sea cargo on their feeder network would increase the sailings frequency to/from hub ports and might further increase volumes. And last but not least – customizing shippers’ facilities to make them more container-friendly, since many of them can only handle trailers due to loading ramps’ design. The study presents different countermeasures-implemented scenarios.

Additionally, the paper points out the most striking hindrances of a wider use of 45-footers. Some container terminals in North Range ports are fairly reluctant to see such units occupying space in their backyards (consuming the space of three 20’ boxes). Moreover, even if some shippers (e.g. from southern Germany) would like to take the advantage of a 45’, the rather limited supply of such boxes forces to have a pre-carriage of the box to the shipper, rendering the whole operation economically unattractive, giving standard boxes (or trucks) a privileged position.

 

Record result in seaborne cargo handling

gruppenfoto_0The Port of Hamburg continues record performance handling a total of 72.6 million to in the first 6 months of 2014. Hamburg’s universal port with 50.7 million tons of predominantly container handling achieves a result of 4.8 million TEU (20-ft standard containers), an increase of 6.8 percent. The largest seaports on the north European continent show an average growth in total handling of 1.8 percent and in container handling of 2.6 percent. The Port of Hamburg can look back on above average growth in container traffic, building up its market share from 25.7 to 26.7 percent.

At 51.6 million tons in the first half year general cargo handling showed a gain of 8.8 percent. “We can see extraordinarily strong growth in loaded container handling: 4.2 million full boxes went over the quay walls in Hamburg. That is 8.2 percent more than in the previous year and more than ever before in the port’s history in a first half-year,” explained Axel Mattern, member of the Executive Board of Port of Hamburg Marketing. At 588,000 TEU, handling empty boxes showed a slight decline of 2.1 percent. Strong exports with a total of 2.3 million TEU (+ 6.3 percent) in container handling, and comparably strong imports at 2.5 million TEU (+ 7.4 percent) are largely responsible for the generally above-average result in container handling.

Throughput in conventional general cargo also showed positive development with a plus at 930,000 tons (+ 0.8 percent) in the first half year, including 302,000 tons (+ 1.7 percent) in project and heavy lift cargo handling at the special terminals. This was possible thanks to strong growth in imports from 33.3 percent up to 66,000 tons. The bulk cargo sector with 21 million tons shows growth of 1.6 percent. This result was especially positively influenced by growing exports of grain, petroleum, biodiesel and chemical products. On the import side there was a slight decline of 4.5 percent in throughput of suction, grabbable and liquid cargo.

New jobs thanks to increased handling volumes

“The growth in seafreight has created new jobs in the Port of Hamburg. In the meantime there are more workers employed in the handling terminals than in the boom year 2008. The port economy is specifically seeking and employing more workers,” said Ingo Egloff, member of the Executive Board of Port of Hamburg Marketing. HHLA has just created 50 new jobs at Container Terminal Burchardkai at the end of July, and announced they would hire new employees at Container Terminal Altenwerder. The Personnel service provider for the port GHB (Gesamthafenbetriebsgesellschaft) has created 60 new jobs this year, in order to have enough qualified personnel for continued growth in general and bulk cargo terminals. “The Hamburg Port Authority is prepared for further growth and is increasing training places for the next generation, qualification programmes for career changers and continuous in-service training for employees. The port with its many varied professional requirements offers numerous attractive opportunities for those starting a career,” explained Egloff.

Delayed ships and construction sites have not hindered growth

Against a backdrop of considerable ship delays all the large container ports in the North Range are presented with considerable challenges, having to cope with the consequences. The delays, on average 70 hours and more in container shipping, especially for the larger containerships with between 6,000 and 7,000 containers (TEU) handled in each ship’s call, can very quickly lead to traffic problems at the port terminals. In addition the numerous construction sites in the Port and in the Hamburg area influence traffic flows at times. “We are especially pleased that in spite of these difficult conditions the Port of Hamburg can be competitive in the North Range and so successful, even gaining extra cargo volumes,” says Mattern.

Securing the Port of Hamburg’s reliability and quality is of special importance to Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Senator for economics, transport and innovation “It is our joint task to bring the transport chain in and through the Port of Hamburg back to the high level of reliability that made the port a preferred logistics service provider. Our investments in infrastructure are an absolute must. Today, those who make a case for less building, are putting the future of our location at risk,” emphasised Horch.

Heinrich Ahlers, CEO of Buss Port Logistics underlined that accessibility to Hamburg‘s universal port for heavy lifts is vital for many port companies and their employees: “Project cargo safeguards jobs for port service providers and multi-purpose terminals, such as our Buss Hansa Terminal. Hamburg policymakers must work together with the federal government and states to further maintain infrastructure, to avoid migration and the loss in value creation that would cause.”

From the point of view of Port of Hamburg Marketing it is clear that up to now, general good coordination of construction sites in the port and its main traffic axes have been greatly facilitating cargo traffic flows and contributed to the record results achieved in seagoing throughput in the Port of Hamburg. “The port cargo handling business as well as the transport companies have impressively demonstrated that even with temporarily critical situations it is possible to move large volumes of cargo into the hinterland. We can now already say that the fourth tube of the Elbe Tunnel, which is again in use has visibly relieved the traffic situation. The maintenance work necessary on the Köhlbrand bridge in the port is also making good progress and will be completed in October,” emphasized Axel Mattern. Jens Meier, Managing Director of Hamburg Port Authority, added: “Our excellent figures are at the same time a challenge for the tomorrow. Only together can we guarantee the traffic flows for the future and so sustainably remain on course”.

The Port of Hamburg Marketing Executive Board also states clearly that they will keep domestic and foreign port customers informed through the port representatives on particular challenges e.g. the still outstanding river channel adjustments of the lower and outer Elbe and the impact of construction work and temporary handling bottlenecks at the terminals. “Our Port customers are showing considerable understanding for this particular situation. It is clear to them that the traffic and handling situation in other large European container ports is also not free of traffic jams and other problems. We rely on speedy implementation and completion of Hamburg’s most important infrastructure projects and on the strong performance of the Port and transport industry in Hamburg and the region. Hamburg is Germany’s largest port and logistics location and takes on an exceptional function as a hub for global cargo flows for our economy and the exports of our neighbouring countries,” added Egloff.

Number of especially large containerships increasing further in Hamburg

The first six months were also marked by a volume increase in seaborne cargo of an unforeseeable amount, brought about by the continued growth in size of containerships. In the first half year of 2014 Hamburg received 244 ultra large containerships with slot capacities of 10,000 TEU and more. The number of ships in this large size class calling increased in a similar period of time by 27.1 percent and clearly shows that the river channel adjustment in the lower and outer Elbe must be urgently realized for the Port and shipping industry.

Double digit growth for container traffic with China, India, Africa and Poland

The Port of Hamburg has profited from stable German exports and a stronger demand in neighbouring European countries. As a north European hub over 1.4 million TEU (+ 12.9 percent) passed through Hamburg especially en route to China. Container traffic from Indian ports reaching Hamburg in the first half year achieved a result of 118,000 TEU (+ 13.2 percent). Container traffic with Africa was extraordinarily good in the first half year reaching 171,000 TEU, a plus of 33.3 percent. Of special importance for the Port of Hamburg are container volumes from and to the Baltic Sea region: 1.2 million TEU were transported in the first half year using feeder ships. That represents a plus of 4.5 percent. Container traffic handling with Polish ports reached 199,000 TEU (+ 33.5 percent). Container traffic between Hamburg and Russian ports reached 330,000 TEU in the first six months and so remains 3.8 percent under comparable results for the previous year. After China, Russia is the second most important trading partner for the Port of Hamburg in container traffic. With more than 160 feeder services weekly, of which 32 call at Russian ports, Hamburg is the central hub for the Baltic region in container traffic.

Record level of 145 million tons can be reached by the end of the year

“In 2014 we can reach a plus of four percent in sea cargo handling and in container handling a five percent increase, if everything goes according to plan,” forecasts Axel Mattern. This is on condition of further growth in container traffic with China and no increasing limitations on foreign trade with Russia because of sanctions. The result for the Port of Hamburg for the year 2014 a total turnover of approximately 145 million tons and a container throughput of about 9.7 million TEU would be possible. This would top the previous record achieved in 2008 of 140 million tons of sea cargo.