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Hamburg maintains strong container volumes, achieves rail record

The Port of Hamburg has achieved a new record in rail container volumes, reaching 2.1 million TEU during the first nine months of the year, representing a growth of 8.3% year-on-year.

Additionally, during the third quarter, the German port posted the highest quarterly total in its history for containers transported by rail, marking 709,000TEU, according to Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Joint CEO.

Furthermore, during the first nine months, the Port of Hamburg handled a total of 6.5 million TEU in its terminals, reflecting a rise of 2.4% compared to the same period of the previous year.

At the same time, exports saw development of 2.9% year-on-year, completing 3.2 million TEU, while imports recorded a slight increase of 1.9% over the January-September period of 2020, at 3.3 million TEU.

Moreover, the throughput of loaded containers during the same period stood at 5.8 million TEU and was elevated by 3.2% year-on-year. In contrast, empty containers saw a downtrend of 3.2% to 731,000TEU, according to the Port of Hamburg's data.

As per tonnes, the port's throughput of containerised general cargo in the first three quarters of 2021 totalled 65.2 million tons, representing a year-on-year gain of 1.5%, while the conventional general cargo was up by 5.2% at 908,000 tons.

The major European port saw 163 Megamax vessels with a capacity of over 18,000TEU calling at Hamburg between January and September, which translates to a year-on-year rise of 19.9%.

"With the implementation of the Elbe fairway adjustment, we now offer larger vessels improved conditions on the Elbe for sailing and arrival. Final clearance in the course of the next six months will put us in a much-improved position compared to our competing ports," said Ingo Egloff, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Joint CEO.

China was among the Port of Hamburg’s leading seaborne container handling partners, showing 1.9 million TEU. The United States followed with 459,000TEU, while other countries with increases in container throughput for the first nine months were Sweden, Poland and Brazil, by 9.9%, 18.8%, and 6.7%, respectively.

Despite this positive throughput trend, the Port of Hamburg officials declared that the port was not yet able to fully overhaul last year’s downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ifo Institut puts the German industry’s forfeited added value on account of delivery bottlenecks at almost US$45.1 million (40€ million). Having previously put fourth-quarter growth at 1.3%, the institute now reckons with just 0.5%. The total containerised throughput, however, remains attainable at around 130 million tons and 8.7 million TEU for 2021, with a slight upward trend.

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