Hamburg Reports Steep Declines in Cargo Volume

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord

Hamburg, Germany’s largest port, reported that despite remaining fully-operational during the first quarter its cargo volumes declined nearly eight percent to just under 32 million tons. 

“The partial shutdown of the Chinese economy, resulting in blank sailings in shipping, led to lower cargo handling in Hamburg,” explained Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing in a press release details the first quarter results. He attributed the slackening of import and export that the Hamburg port experienced to the interruption of transport and supply chains caused by the corona virus. 

Like many ports around the world, Hamburg experienced a significant decline in container handling during the quarter.   Containers were down nearly 7 percent to a total of just over 2 million TEUs.   

The port handled 579,400 TEUs for China, which was a nearly 15 percent decline, but conversely container volume to the United States grew over 20 percent to 146,100 TEUs.   This growth was largely due to four new containers services started between Hamburg and the United States at the beginning of 2019.   

Container volume from Hamburg to Singapore also increased by 10 percent to over 111,000 TEUs. However, Hamburg reported that the transhipment sector, or container throughput between ocean-going and feeder vessels, was especially hard hit declining nearly 11 percent.   First-quarter throughput of bulk cargoes was also down nearly 12 percent. 

Commenting on the outlook, Mattern says that the Port of Hamburg expects to see a continuation of blank sailings and falling total throughput.  “From June, it is entirely possible that with a gradual pick-up in the economy in China and Europe, we shall be seeing an increase in sailings and rising volumes on port throughput and seaport-hinterland services,” said Mattern.