Hamburg increased container throughput by 4.4 percent in 2013, as surging Baltic traffic and a recovery on Asian services helped it to buck the downward trend across the North European port range.
Container traffic topped 9.3 million 20-foot-equivalent units, cementing Hamburg’s position as Europe’s second largest box hub, behind Rotterdam and ahead of Antwerp.
Hamburg’s closest rivals both posted declines in container traffic last year, Rotterdam down 2.1 percent at 11.62 million TEUs and Antwerp 0.7 percent lower at 8.57 million TEUs.
Hamburg boosted its share of containers handled by Northern Europe’s top four ports by 1.3 percentage points to 26.2 percent.
The port said higher container traffic was the key driver of a market-beating 6.2 percent increase in its overall throughput to 139 million tons.
The short-sea and feeder trades between Hamburg and Russia, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltic states surged 10.1 percent to 2.3 million TEUs. Rotterdam partly blamed the loss of feeder traffic to Hamburg for the decline in its 2013 throughput.
Hamburg’s traffic with Asia picked up in 2013 as well, rising 3 percent to 4.9 million TEUs. Exports jumped 5.1 percent to 2.2 million TEUs, outpacing a 1.4 percent rise in imports to 2.7 million TEUs.
Traffic with mainland China and Hong Kong grew 2.9 percent to 2.7 million TEUs to account for 29 percent of Hamburg’s total volume.
The Americas were the only region to post a decline in traffic, down 3.3 percent at 1.1 million TEUs.
The port’s marketing department said it expects a further “modest” increase in volume in the current year.
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