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Hamburg throughput falls on lower liquid bulk volumes

Port of Hamburg hhm_ahmadi_container.jpg
Container volumes rose in the first quarter 2024 at the Port of Hamburg, but lower liquid bulk throughput dragged the overall figure into the red.

Container throughput of 1.9m teu in the first three months of 2024 at the Port of Hamburg was a 1.1% improvement over the same period last year. By tonnage, the increase was 0.7% to 19.0m tonnes.

"The development of container throughput suggests that, despite the current events in the Red Sea, trade is stabilising and the recovery process is continuing," said Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, adding that quarterly results are not indicative of longer-term trends.

The port noted that the improvement came despite geopolitical tensions and challenging economic conditions.

Trade with the US hit a new record in the quarter, rising 17.7% to 179,000 teu; trade with Mexico rose by 32.2% to 27,000 teu. The situation in the Red Sea brought higher transhipment volumes for the Mediterranean, evidenced by a 44.9% increase in container throughput with Morocco to 34,000 teu. Total transhipment volumes of 625,400 teu were up 3% on 2023.

China remained the largest trade partner for Hamburg, rising 2.9% to 536,000 teu.

Despite the increases in container volumes, total seaborne cargo throughput of 27.4m tonnes for the first quarter was down 3.3% on-year. “The main reason for this is a lower turnover in bulk goods at 8.2m tonnes. This represents a decline of 11.9% compared to the previous year. Noteworthy is the decrease in liquid cargo, which is attributable to currently high inventory levels,” said Port of Hamburg.

The port reportedf higher calls from container ships with a capacity between 4,000 and 10,000 teu, while the number of calls from ships of over 10,000 teu fell, in part due to the longer sailing times on the Cape of Good Hope route.