The Port of Hamburg’s container trade fell by 2.7% in the first half of the year, with dwindling empty box numbers impacting its 4.3m teu throughput.
The number of empty boxes at the German facility fell by 15.6% to 525,000 teu, which subsequently translated to 81% of the total drop. Full containers remained relatively stable with a throughput of 3.8m teu, 0.6% lower than last year’s figure.
There was also a significant drop in transhipment traffic, especially in feeder services to the Baltic, with trade falling by 4.4% to 1.6m teu.
Axel Mattern, joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, said: “Against the background of the still outstanding adjustment of the fairway on the Lower and Outer Elbe, it is understandable that shipping companies should utilise slot capacities on mega-containerships calling at Hamburg primarily for loaded boxes.
“Unlike cargo bound for the local region and loaded boxes, transhipment cargo and empty containers are less tied to specific ports. We therefore hope that planning permission will be granted before the end of the year, and the fairway adjustment finally implemented after a wait of 17 years.”
Volumes on the port’s principal route with East Asia rose by 1% to 1.6m teu, while trade with Brazil rocketed up by 37.6% to 127,000 teu. This growth has seen the South American country become Hamburg’s fifth largest trading partner.
Trade with the East and West Coast of North America performed well, as did trade with Africa. Additionally, for the first time since 2005, Taiwan became one of the port’s top ten trading partners, taking tenth place. Business with the top ten accounted for 58% of total container trade.
Elsewhere trade with continental Europe fell by 1.6% to 2.7m teu, while railborne container transport increased by 5.4% to 1.2m teu.