The Port of Hamburg handled 72.6m tonnes of cargo over the first six months of 2014 (6.6% growth), including 4.8m teu (6.8% growth).
The port said that with average growth in total handling and container handling among north Europe ports at 1.8% and 2.6% respectively, its figures represent above average growth and also that its market share had risen by 1% to 26.7%.
“We can see extraordinarily strong growth in loaded container handling: 4.2m full boxes went over the quay walls in Hamburg. That is 8.2% more than in the previous year and more than ever before in the port’s history in a first half-year,” said Axel Mattern, a member of the port’s executive board.
At 588,000 teu, handling empty boxes showed a slight decline of 2.1%. Strong exports, with a total of 2.3m teu (+6.3%) in container handling, and comparably strong imports at 2.5m teu (+7.4%) are largely responsible for the result.
Throughput in general cargo also showed positive development, up 0.8% to 930,000 tonnes in the first half year, including 302,000 tonnes (+1.7%) in project and heavy lift cargo. This was possible thanks to strong growth in imports, up 33% to 66,000 tonnes.
The bulk cargo sector saw overall growth of 1.6%, with 21m tonnes.
Hamburg received 244 ultra large containerships with slot capacities of 10,000 teu or more. The number of ships of this size calling at the port has increased by almost a third over the last six months or so.
The port said it had profited from stable German exports and a stronger demand in neighbouring European countries. Over 1.4m teu (+12.9%) passed through Hamburg, especially en route to China. Container traffic to and from the Baltic Sea region is of key importance and was up 4.5% to 1.2m teu. Container traffic with Polish ports reached 199,000 teu (+ 33.5%) and traffic between Hamburg and Russian ports reached 330,000 teu, 3.8% down on the previous year. After China, Russia is the port’s second most important trading partner in terms of container traffic.
Container traffic from Indian ports to Hamburg is up 13% and from Africa is up by 33%.
“In 2014 we can reach a plus of 4% in sea cargo handling and a 5% increase in container handling if everything goes according to plan,” said Mattern.
He said that the end-of-year results would depend on increased traffic with China and no further limitations on trade with Russia due to political sanctions.