May 23, 2016: Port of Hamburg’ total throughput in the first quarter of 2016 was 2.5 percent lower at 34.8 million tonnes. In the second half of 2015, the economic downturn in China and Russia, both especially important markets for Hamburg, may have slowed somewhat during the first quarter of 2016, yet Hamburg’s seaborne cargo throughput remained below the previous year’s record level.
Bulk cargo throughput stood out to be at 11.5 million tonnes (down 1.9 percent) and general cargo throughput at 23.3 million tonnes (down 2.7 percent). Both segments were somewhat weaker than in the same quarter of 2015. For the first quarter, 2.2 million TEU (down 3.4 percent) container throughput was seen.
The first-quarter total for seaborne cargo throughput was shaped especially by lower container traffic with China, the Port of Hamburg’s most important trading partner by a wide margin. Down 8.0 percent at 651,000 TEU, container traffic with China was 57,000 TEU lower than in the previous year, and as the largest volume fall affected the global total. Gratifying double-digit and single-digit growth rates in container traffic with Finland (up 11.1 percent), the USA (up 14.2 percent), Malaysia (up 6.4 percent), the United Kingdom (up 31.8 percent) and India (up 4.1 percent), all of them among the Port of Hamburg’s Top Ten trading partners, were not sufficient to restore the previous total.
“Taken together, the downturns for the Top Three trading partners, China (down 8.0 percent), Singapore (down 7.6 percent) and Russia (down 4.9 percent) constituted the main factor affecting our result on container handling. We saw the onset of stabilisation occurring during the first quarter and are assuming that the volume downturn in container traffic with China and Russia has bottomed out, with both countries remaining core markets for the Port of Hamburg. A few weeks ago, we discerned positive signals from the Russian economy at TransRussia, while showcasing at the largest Russian logistics trade fair and during the numerous information functions and discussions with representatives of firms and the world of politics. Even in tough times, for Russia the Port of Hamburg remains an essential international trade hub,” said Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM).
In the course of the first quarter, Hamburg also received new liner services. For a start, MAERSK shipping line’s Colombia fruit service now links the Colombian ports of Turbo and Santa Maria with the HHLA Frucht- and Kühl-Zentrum at O’Swaldkai multi-purpose terminal, while HDS/IRISL’s new ECL container service links Hamburg with the ports of Genoa, Istanbul, Port Said and Bandar Abbas every two weeks.