In the first nine months of the year the maritime industry in the Port of Hamburg handled 91.8 million tons of seaborne cargo, a 4.3 percent drop on the previous year. Also down 7.4 percent at 27.5 million tons, handling of bulk cargo was especially hard hit. In comparison with the rest of Europe, container handling held up well.
At 6.3 million TEU - 20-ft standard containers - for the Port of Hamburg the downturn was 2.7 percent. By contrast, conventional general cargo handling progressed especially well, with 1.1 million tons crossing the quay walls of Hamburg, 19.3 percent more than in the previous year.
Several developments simultaneously affected the Port of Hamburg cargo handling trend in the third quarter. “Causing long bottlenecks in ship traffic off Hamburg, among other ports, global supply chain disruptions were responsible for a fall in handling.
In other European ports, the tendency had already become apparent in mid-year. Although we still performed well on a European comparison, in the third quarter global trends then hit the Port of Hamburg,” explained Axel Mattern, CEO of HHM - Port of Hamburg Marketing. Container handling in Rotterdam dwindled by 4.4 percent, while Antwerp-Zeebrugge handled 5 percent fewer containers.
Compared to the first three quarters of the previous year, in 2022 general cargo slipped into deficit, achieving a 2.9 percent lower total of 64.4 million tons. Decisive here was a 3.2 percent downturn in containerized general cargo. By contrast, the 1.1 million tons total for its conventional counterpart reflected a distinct gain of 19.3 percent.
A close look at the container handling segment reveals the identical effect on both exports at 3.1 million TEU and imports at 3.2 million TEU. Both were 2.7 percent down on the previous year’s level. Of boxes handled, those loaded remained in the lead. They were therefore the main cause of the overall downturn of 2.7 percent. Between January and September, 5.6 million loaded TEU, or 2.9 percent fewer, crossed the quay walls, whereas the empty box total of around 726,000 TEU was 1 percent lower.
The downturn in seaborne cargo handling also affected transhipment and continental handling. Down by 6.3 percent at 2.3 million TEU, transhipment throughput was mainly affected. By contrast, continental throughput was almost unchanged, falling by no more than 0.6 percent to 4 million TEU. The rail share of hinterland box transport therefore worked out at 50 percent.
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