Shipping article(s)
May 20, 2024

Port of Hamburg said container throughput improved in the first quarter of the year despite tense geopolitical and economic conditions.


The port said it handled 1.9 million Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the January to March period, with the US traffic continuing to develop very positively, setting a new record.


It added that hinterland and transhipment traffic benefitted from the increase in container throughput and showed an upward trend.


Overall, the Port of Hamburg noted that the total seaborne cargo throughput stands at 27.4 million tonnes and is affected by declining bulk cargo transport.  

More containers handled


Container throughput in the Port of Hamburg rose by 1.1% to 1.9 million TEU in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.


Container throughput by tonnage also increased by 0.7% to 19.0 million tonnes.


Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, said the development of container throughput suggests that, despite the current events in the Red Sea, "trade is stabilising and the recovery process is continuing."


"The quarterly results cover a short period of time and are not indicative of throughput trends for the remainder of the year," he added.

Total seaborne cargo throughput in the first three months of this year was 27.4 million tonnes, a decrease of 3.3% compared to the same period last year.


Port of Hamburg said the main reason for this is a lower turnover in bulk goods, at 8.2 million tonnes, which represents a decline of 11.9% compared to the previous year.

US market continues on record course


A look at the Port of Hamburg's strongest container shipping routes reveals a remarkable record in throughput with the US.


The port said that in the first three months, 179,000 TEU were handled, an increase of 17.7%.


"This robust growth is in line with the objective of increasing resilience by diversifying the port's partner structure," it added while noting that container traffic with China remained in the lead, with 536,000 TEU and an increase of 2.9%.

Container traffic with Mexico also developed very positively.


Port of Hamburg said it handled 27,000 TEUs — an increase of 32.2% on this route compared to the same period last year.

Additionally, the port noted that container throughput with Morocco is worth highlighting. At 34,000 TEU, container traffic increased by 44.9% setting a new record in trade with Morocco.


"This result indicates that transhipment traffic to the Mediterranean has increased due to the aforementioned situation in the Red Sea," Port of Hamburg said.


In total, the Port of Hamburg handled 625,400 TEU of transhipment traffic, representing a 3.0% increase compared to the same period last year.

Number of ship calls has risen


The number of ship calls with container slot capacities increased overall in the first quarter of 2024.


The port noted that ships with a medium capacity of 4,000 to 10,000 TEU made a particularly strong contribution.


In contrast, the number of calls by container ships with more than 10,000 TEU decreased.


"One reason for this was the diversion of ships around the Cape of Good Hope. This resulted in longer sailing times, which meant that fewer large container ships were calling at the Port of Hamburg on these routes at the beginning of the year," the port added.


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