Hamburg Port Overtakes Antwerp as Asian Trade Raises Volumes

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The Port of Hamburg increased container volumes by 15 percent in the first nine months of the year on trade with Asia and eastern Europe, helping it overtake Antwerp as Europe’s second-largest container port.

The number of standard containers, known as TEU, rose to 6.8 million in the nine months through September while total trade volumes rose 11 percent to 99 million tons, the Port of Hamburg said in a statement today. In Antwerp, container volumes increased 3.1 percent to 6.5 million TEU in the same period, while Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, had an almost 8 percent rise to 9 million TEU, according to those two ports.

Hamburg fell behind Antwerp in 2009 after the global economic crisis led to a decline in volumes. An increase in trade with eastern Europe and Asia is now benefiting Germany’s biggest port as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis hampers growth in the region’s largest economies.

“We don’t expect to see a decline in the seaborne trade with the important markets of China, Asia, America and the countries in the Baltic Sea region” in 2012, Port of Hamburg Marketing Chief Executive Officer Claudia Roller said today.

Container volumes between Hamburg and north-east Asia rose 12 percent while the number of units transported to and from countries on the Baltic Sea advanced 28 percent in the first nine months.

Hamburg forecast an increase in container volumes of 14 percent to 9 million TEU and a 10 percent rise in total trade volumes to 133 million tons for the full year.

In the first six months of this year, Hamburg handled 4.3 million TEU while Antwerp reported volumes of 4.4 million TEU.

To contact the reporter on this story: Niklas Magnusson in Hamburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at