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No Christmas jump for Hamburg

No Christmas jump for Hamburg
The yearly ‘Christmas jump’ in container trade has “almost completely failed to materialise” thanks to falling container volumes from Russia and China, says the Port of Hamburg.

The Port’s quarterly report noted a 4.8% downturn in cargoes for the first nine months of 2015, down largely to a 9.2% decrease in container cargo, to 6.7m teu.

Container throughput with China fell to 1.9m teu, a 14.9% drop. Russian traffic was 323,000 teu, down 36% in the first nine months of 2015, but the Port noted that the trend “appears to have ceased”.

“Perhaps the first signs of an upward trend [in Russian volumes] will be apparent next year,” said executive board member Axel Mattern, Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM). “The downturn hit us especially hard because the bulk of all containers were transhipment containers that were loaded on to, or discharged from oceangoing containerships.

“Since China is our strongest trading partner in container traffic, and large quantities of containers are transhipped via Hamburg for transport into the Baltic region, this downturn is painful for the Port of Hamburg,” said Axel Mattern.

Meanwhile handling of bulk cargo increased 8.7% to 34.3m tons, while general cargo decreased 8.5% to 1.5m tons. The Port continues to suffer from the ongoing opposition to dredging the river Elbe, Matten insisted: “The long overdue dredging of the Lower and Outer Elbe add to the difficulty of handling especially large ships. Some competing ports in the North Range are specifically attacking the related trades and are taking quantities away from Hamburg because the restrictions on the Elbe constrict utilization of the transport capacities of large vessels.”