The port of Hamburg’s container volume grew 5.2 percent in the first quarter, boosting its Northern Europe market share at the expense of close rivals Rotterdam and Antwerp as surging traffic on Baltic Sea and North America routes offset lower Asian shipments.
Europe second largest container hub handled 2.2 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the three months to end-March against 2.1 million TEUs in the same period in 2011.
Asian volumes dipped 5 percent to 1.2 million TEUs while traffic in the Baltic Sea region, including Russia, jumped 19.6 percent to 531,000 TEUs, and the Americas trade was up 33.3 percent at 279,000 TEUs.
“Hamburg is markedly ahead of the 2.4 percent average growth for the four major ports in the North Range,” said Port of Hamburg Marketing Chief Executive Claudia Roller.
Rotterdam, Europe’s top box port, saw first quarter container traffic shrink 4 percent to 2.78 million TEUs, and third-ranked Antwerp grew just 0.7 percent to 2.19 million TEUs.
Hamburg’s total cargo throughput rose 3.8 percent to 32.6 million metric tons, outpacing Rotterdam’s 3 percent increase to 110 million tons and Antwerp’s 2.2 percent growth to 46.3 million tons.
“For the remainder of the year we are reckoning on a further increase in total throughput,” Roller said.
“Downturns in the Asia trade are a momentary phenomenon caused by restructuring of various liner services. However, we are expecting new East Asia container liner services ... in the course of the first half of the year.”
Conventional and break-bulk traffic fell 6.1 percent to 528,000 tons, driven by a near 40 percent slump in citrus fruit shipments and continuing containerization of general cargo.
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