JadeWeserport in Germany has handled 33,000 containers since it opened in September 2012, at odds with the 2.7 million projected when state governments began the €10 billion (about US$13 billion) project a decade ago, Bloomberg reports.
The port relies on two weekly services from the operator’s main shareholder, A.P. Moller-Maersk, to keep the 400 people that work there in employment.
Despite the low container cargo traffic, policymakers continue to develop the harbor. Investors have bought the bonds of operator Eurogate, and Bremen and Lower Saxony — the two German states that constructed JadeWeserPort — announced in April that they will spend $2.6 million to examine the feasibility of a second container port north of JadeWeserPort by early 2015.
“It is not yet the success story we wished for, but it was right to build the port,” said Hans-Joachim Otto, deputy economy minister, in an interview with a Bloomberg reporter. Otto, who coordinates the federal government’s maritime policy, said he expects the shipping industry to overcome the overcapacity and low charter rates that are crippling returns by the end of 2014.