Hamburg Port Container Growth Increases on Baltic Sea Traffic

Hamburg, Europe’s third-biggest port, reported container volume growth of 3.6 percent in the first nine months of the year on a strong increase in feeder traffic with Baltic Sea ports.

Throughput rose to 7 million 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, while transshipment -- the transfer of containers from deep-sea ships from Asia to smaller feeder vessels destined mostly for the Baltics -- advanced 10 percent to 2.9 million TEU, Port of Hamburg Marketing said.

“Similar to the first half of the year, Hamburg grew above the average trend in North Europe,” Axel Mattern, board member of the Port of Hamburg Marketing, told reporters in Hamburg.

Average container throughput at the ports of the North Range, which also includes Europe’s biggest harbor Rotterdam as well as Antwerp and Bremerhaven, grew by only 1 percent in the first three quarters of the year, Port of Hamburg said. Total throughput, which also includes bulk and mixed cargo, in the region rose 0.7 percent, while Hamburg reported a 6 percent increase to 103.9 million metric tons.

Port of Hamburg Marketing said it now expects 138.5 million metric tons in total throughput in the full year, an increase of almost 6 percent compared to last year. It previously forecast 136 million metric tonnes. The port also predicted a 4 percent increase in container volume to 9.3 million TEU, compared with a previous expectation of 9.1 million TEU.

Hamburger Hafen & Logistik AG, the handler of about three in four containers at Hamburg’s port, yesterday posted a 16 percent drop in nine-month profit as modernization of a terminal drove up costs.

It also faced additional costs for personnel and equipment as the dredging project to deepen and widen the navigation passage of the Elbe connecting the port and the North Sea has been delayed by a lawsuit, it said.

Hamburg Economy Minister Frank Horch said on Nov. 8 that he doesn’t expect Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig to issue a ruling on the dredging dispute this year.

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