In 2022, international crises impacted the Port of Hamburg’s seaborne cargo throughput. Hamburg terminals handled 119.9 million tons, or 6.8 percent less than in the previous year. With growth of 11.2 percent to 1.4 million tons, the trend for conventional general cargo was positive. Yet handling of general cargo was 5.8 percent down at 83.7 million tons. At 36.2 million tons, throughput of bulk cargoes in the port was 8.9 percent lower.
“The war in Ukraine plus the related sanctions against Russia, along with worldwide supply chain problems caused by the corona pandemic, impacted Port of Hamburg throughput during the year. This was compounded by labour disputes in the port at the beginning of the second half of the year and very high inflation in the course of the autumn, which caused consumer spending to fall to a low point,” explained Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s CEO. Lower volumes of bulk cargo are both directly and indirectly attributable to stiffer sanctions against Russia. Falls occurred in both suction cargo - down 6.0 percent at 6.0 million tons and grab cargo - 6.3 percent lower at 20.2 million tons - as well as liquid cargo - down 15.2 percent at 10.0 million tons.
Whilst taking downturns last year in bulk cargo handling, the Port of Hamburg is in the process of preparing for new products and volumes. Its transformation into a cutting-edge energy hub has already commenced. “In February 2022 we signed an agreement with Air Products, the world’s largest hydrogen producer, providing for exploration of the opportunities for building up a comprehensive hydrogen added value chain throughout the Port of Hamburg. In November, Air Products and Mabanaft announced that Germany‘s first large import terminal for green hydrogen would be built on Oiltanking Deutschland’s site in the port.
With this, the Port of Hamburg will be playing a pioneering role in hydrogen imports and helping ensure supplies for Germany,” said Friedrich Stuhrmann, CCO of der HPA - Hamburg Port Authority. By constructing shore power supply units at both cruise and container terminals, HPA will be well on the way to becoming a climate-neutral port, added Stuhrmann.
A total of 8.3 million TEU - Twenty-foot Equivalent Units - crossed quay walls in the Port of Hamburg last year, or 5.1 percent fewer than in the previous year. A quarterly comparison reveals a positive trend in the first half. Down by 12.3 percent, throughput fell steeply in the fourth quarter, however. “With Christmas coming, in the final quarter we should normally see a rise in throughput totals. That failed to happen last year. The main reasons were high energy costs and inventories in industry,” explained Mattern. At 4.2 million, seaborne container imports were consequently 6.1 percent lower. For comparison, 4.1 million TEU were exported, a 4.1 percent fall on the previous year.
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