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Eurogate hit by weak trade

The Bremen-headquartered Eurogate Group has reported a 2% year-on-year drop in its 2015 total container handling volumes amid weak market conditions.

The group, which operates sea terminals jointly with its sister company Contship Italia, reported that its total throughput went down from 14.8m teu in 2014 to 14.5m teu in 2015, hit by Russia’s recession and China’s economic slowdown.

The company’s Italian terminals recorded a 5.5% drop in container handling volumes from 5m teu in 2014 to 4.8m teu last year, while the group’s German segment recorded an overall 1.5% increase from 8.1m teu in 2014 to 8.2m teu last year.

Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg reported a negligible 0.5% year-on-year rise to 2.3m teu in 2015. According to the company, despite a strong start, the Hamburg terminal stagnated as it was overtaken by the faltering Chinese export trade.

The group’s North Sea terminals in Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven reported an overall 2% growth from 5.8m teu in 2014 to 5.9m teu in 2015, with a 4.3% drop to 5.5m teu in its Bremerhaven terminal and a 536% rise to 426,751 teu in Wilhelmshaven, which started operations in 2012.

As Eurogate claimed in its statement, Bremerhaven terminal’s results were affected by a decrease in feeder volumes in transport operations with Russia.

The group’s terminals in Russia and Morocco both recorded a negative year, with container handling volumes falling by 17% in Ust-Luga and 9% in Tangier.

The company’s terminal in Lisbon, Portugal, recorded however a 5.6% year-on-year rise in container throughput in 2015, which went up from 196,360 teu in 2014 to 207,317 teu last year.

Emanuel Schiffer, chairman of the Eurogate Group, said: “The market environment continues to be challenging and is characterised by overcapacities and weakening global demand, triggered by the slump in Chinese export trade. For 2016, we are again anticipating a difficult year.”

He reported that the company handled over 200 container vessels of more than 18,000 teu at its North Sea terminals in 2015, claiming that its container terminals are “predestined to handle the new megacarriers”.

“‘We can do mega container ships’ – Eurogate has demonstrated this time and again,” he stated.