The worldwide economic crisis resulted in a 0.8% decline in general cargo, which reached a total of 97.9m tonnes. Over the same period bulk cargoes grew by 1.8%.
Overall container traffic fell by 1.5% to 9.7m teus, with a significant 10.3% decline to 2.2m teus handled during Quarter 4, compared with the average for the first three quarters of the year.
Almost 70% of the overall decline in container handling was attributed to empty containers, which at 1.8m teus represented 105,000 (5.4%) fewer units handled than in 2007. Loaded containers accounted for 7.9m teus, a 0.6% reduction. Taking into account the weaker 2008 results, the average annual growth rate in container handling in Hamburg over the period 2000 to 2008 is 11%.