The port of Hamburg wrested back second place in Europe’s container league from Antwerp, with a 15.3 percent surge in traffic in the first nine months of the year.
Hamburg handled 6.8 million 20-foot equivalent units in January-September, while Antwerp boosted traffic by just 3.1 percent to 6.5 million TEUs. Hamburg also grew almost twice as fast as Europe’s top container port Rotterdam where traffic increased 7.7 percent in the first three quarters to just over 9 million TEUs.
The German port fell behind Antwerp in 2009 when its fast-growing Asian and Baltic Sea container markets suffered disproportionately steep falls amid the global economic slowdown.
Hamburg’s total cargo throughput jumped 11.6 percent in the first nine months to 99 million metric tons, again outpacing Rotterdam, up 1.7 percent at 327 million tons, and Antwerp, where total volume rose 7.5 percent to 142 million tons.
The German port’s superior performance in containers was driven by a 12 percent increase in trade with North East Asia, a 28 percent jump in shipments in the Baltic Sea region and double-digit growth on the Atlantic. Earlier, Hamburg’s top stevedore HHLA reported nine month container traffic surged 24.8 percent to 5.3 million TEUs.
Hamburg expects full year container traffic to grow 14 percent to around 9 million TEUs while total tonnage is forecast to increase 10 percent to 133 million tons.
The port does not anticipate a slowdown in traffic in its key Chinese, Asian, Baltic and American markets in 2012, Port of Hamburg Marketing CEO Claudia Roller said.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.