Seaport-Hinterland rail transports records 3.1% gains through 3Q

Ingo Egloff and Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s two joint CEOs has announced at the port’s quarterly press conference that the universal port of Hamburg’s seaborne cargo throughput has stabilised, with an upward trend discernible. In stiff competition with the main ports of Northern Europe, Hamburg can report an outstanding trend on seaport-hinterland services.

Against the general rail freight tendency for declining volumes, the quantity of freight shifted in and out of the Port of Hamburg by rail increased by 3.1%. The total number of containers transported by rail during the first nine months climbed by almost 2% t to 1.8 million TEU. At 104.9 million tons, total seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg for the first three quarters of 2016, covering general and bulk cargo segments, was 0.3% up from the previous year.

“Seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg has stabilized and for the first three quarters of 2016 again increased. Seen separately, the third quarter with a 2.7% upturn to 34.7 million tons underlines the upwards trend. Both general and bulk cargo volumes developed positively for Germany’s largest universal port,” says Mattern.

“By comparison with other leading European ports, in the first three quarters of 2016 Hamburg, further expanded freight volumes transported by rail. Transporting 35.5 million tons of freight and 1.8 million TEU, representing gains of 3.1% and 1.9%, rail once again achieved a substantial advance,” reported Egloff.

In the first nine months of the year, container throughput as a whole remained basically flat with the previous year’s level. However, containerised cargo volume advanced 0.4% to 69.3 million tons, at 6.7 million TEU the number of boxes handled slipped 0.1%, almost unchanged. The container traffic with Asia that is especially important for the Port of Hamburg grew by 1%. Predominating in the Port of Hamburg, container throughput with Chinese ports also thrived. This attained a 0.6% increase.

The North and South America trades produced overall growth of 1.2%. In the European container trade, results differed. On the one hand, a 4.4% advance to 337,000 TEU in container traffic with Russia signaled a slight upward trend. On the other hand, direct calls by container liner services in Gothenburg and Gdansk caused downturns of 15.4 and 14.1% in seaborne container traffic with Sweden and Poland, respectively. Declining by 1.7%, the European trade as a whole was slightly negative.

With throughout 6.8% ahead at 188,000 TEU, India now ranks eighth among Hamburg’s top trading partners in container traffic. Positive trends here also produced growth of 18.0% with Mexico, 7.7% with the USA, 12.1% with United Arab Emirates, and 13.3% with the United Kingdom.

“For the first three quarters of the year the Port of Hamburg’s container throughput statistics indicated 0.5% growth to 3.5 million TEU in import boxes. Exports reached 3.2 million TEU, remaining 0.6% below the previous year’s figure. Despite the increase in import containers and an overall 0.5% advance for loaded containers, reaching 5.7 million TEU in the first three quarters, a very slight 0.1% downturn occurred in the Port of Hamburg’s overall throughput figure. That is primarily attributable to fewer transhipment services with ports in Poland and Sweden,” explains Mattern.

More than 200 freight trains daily reach or leave Hamburg as Europe’s largest rail port, connecting it with all economically active inland regions. Hamburg’s numerous connections and intense frequency of train departures are advantageous for rapid handling of export and import freight for inland shippers. “If the port is to continue to be expanded and remain competitive in its numerous functional areas, apart from the development of high-performance access and dispersal corridors for freight transport by rail, truck and inland waterway craft, dredging of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe remains essential for enduring growth and employment,” concludes Egloff.

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