In 2016 Germany’s largest universal port achieved a turnaround in seaborne cargo throughput, reaching a total 138.2 million tons in the general and bulk cargo segments. Seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg again developed upwards with an increase of 0.3 percent. Stronger general cargo throughput offset a slight downturn in bulk cargo throughput.
Record result for seaport-hinterland rail transport
Ingo Egloff and Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing’s Joint CEOs, declared at the Port of Hamburg’s Annual Press Conference that seaborne cargo throughput in the universal Port of Hamburg has stabilized and there is an obvious upward trend. In strong competition with the other main ports in Northern Europe, Hamburg can claim an especially positive trend in seaport-hinterland services. Against the trend for lower volumes on rail freight traffic in Germany, at 46.4 million tons the volume transported into/out of the Port of Hamburg was 1.5 percent higher. The number of containers transported by rail climbed by 2.4 percent to 2.4 million TEU. In the Port of Hamburg’s modal split, rail further increased its share of containers transported from 41.6 percent to 42.3 percent. Linking Hamburg with all hinterland economic centres, more than 200 freight trains reach or leave Europe’s largest rail port every day. “In a comparison with ports in Europe, the highest number of connections and the great frequency of train departures to/from Hamburg are very advantageous in offering shippers in industry and commerce rapid handling of their export and import cargoes,’ said Egloff.
Elbe fairway adjustment is coming
To continue expanding the Port of Hamburg in its multitude of functions and to keep it competitive, modernization and expansion of an efficient infrastructure for freight transport by rail, truck, inland waterway or oceangoing ship is of crucial importance. ‘With its judgement on 9 February, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig expressly underlined the necessity of the fairway adjustment,’ said Jens Meier, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). Fairway adjustment is coming. Now the task is to extend the legal process. ‘We shall now be concentrating on clarifying the questions about possible fluctuations in the salinity of the Elbe and on attending to demands for additional compensatory areas within the framework of what is compatible with legislation on protecting habitats.’ The project group responsible will be urgently working on this, yet it is too early just now to make a firm statement on the time framework required. The Federal Administrative Court made clear in its judgement that no deficiencies are evident in the entire planning process and that the objections by environmental groups in respect of hydraulic construction measures are unfounded. The European water directive has also been observed. Only the protection of one plant species, the ‘Hemlock Water Dropwort’ and the designation of compensatory areas require improvement, and then the measure should be implemented. ‘So it is clear that fairway adjustment is coming, but we regret the loss of more time in implementing the measure. The essential point is that for shipping on the Elbe and operations in the Port of Hamburg, nothing changes. We have proved able until now to handle the largest containerships, and that will remain so in future. No deterioration will therefore be occurring,’ stressed Egloff.
The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest universal port, guaranteeing more than 156,000 jobs in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The port is a significant industrial base and with net added value of 21.8 billion euros is of immense significance for the entire German economy. For 2017, the Port of Hamburg’s marketing organization reckons with a seaborne cargo throughput at last year’s level.
Sources: Port of Hamburg
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