Hamburg’s container traffic declined in the second quarter as sharply lower Asian shipments outweighed growth on Baltic Sea and Russian routes.
Europe’s second-largest box port handled 4.4 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the first half, a 1.9 percent increase on the year-earlier period that masked a decrease in traffic in the three months to June, the first quarterly drop in nine quarters.
Traffic with Asia, which accounts for about 60 percent of Hamburg’s container volume, slumped 6 percent in the first half to 2.4 million TEUs as the deepening eurozone crisis led to fewer imports, particularly from China.
Russian trade remained strong, with traffic surging 14.7 percent to 317,000 TEUs, while overall volume in the Baltic and East European routes was up 9.5 percent at around 1 million TEUs.
The port forecasts container traffic growth of between 1 and 2 percent for the full year.
Hamburg’s overall traffic grew 2.7 percent to 65.8 million metric tons in the first half and is predicted to increase 2 to 3 percent in the full year to 135 million to 136 million tons.
The twin ports of Bremen/Bremerhaven outperformed their larger neighbor with container traffic increasing 6.9 percent to 3.2 million TEUs while overall throughput was 9.3 percent higher at 43.8 million tons.
Bremerhaven increased auto shipments by nearly 11 percent to 1.1 million units in the first six months to consolidate its position as Europe’s biggest auto port.
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