EUROPE: Coronavirus takes a toll on Port of Hamburg's cargo throughout

Seaborne cargos loaded and discharged at the German port totalled 61.2 million tons in the first half of 2020 - a 12% year-on-year downturn. Cargo throughput figures were impacted across the board at Hamburg in the first six months of the year. General cargo handling was 12.2% down on the same period in 2019, at 42.5 million tons.

Bulk cargo handling fell back 11.7% to 18.7 million tons. In the container handling sector, throughput was 4.1 million TEU - a 12.4% year-on-year decline. 'We are naturally not pleased about this trend, but the drop in first-half throughput caused by the pandemic seriously affected all ports in Northern Europe.

Owing to the weakness of the world economy and some withdrawals or considerable delays of global supply chains, as expected the effect turned out to be more severe in the second quarter than in the first three months,' commented  Axel Mattern, Joint CEO, Port of Hamburg Marketing. The largest volume fall over the previous year occurred on imports, which were 16.3% down. Exports held up more strongly, totalling 27.5 million tons which was a 6.1% fallback.

On container handling as reflected in volumes with the Port of Hamburg's top 10 trading partners, the picture for the first six months was a varied one.. Except for Denmark, six countries reported substantial double-digit downturns. Seaborne container throughput with China, Hamburg's top trading partners, collapsed by 16.4%.
Besides China, downturns in seaborne container throughput were also reported with Russia (-14.9%), Sweden (-13.3%), South Korea (-14.4%), Denmark (-2.7%), and Poland (-10.5%).

'The slowing down of the Chinese economy and the resultant cancellations of sailings on liner services - or "blank sailings" in shipping parlance - led to lower throughput totals. With some delay, these repercussions were reflected in the first-half figures, noted Mattern, who however has detected an initial recovery on both the import and export sides of the China trades.
  Apart from the United States - up 1.7%, Hamburg's other trading partners reporting growth were Singapore with 5.5%, the United Kingdom with 39%, and Malaysia with 1.7%.

Co-CEO Ingo Egloff is beginning to see some signs of recovery. 'In the past two months a stabilisation of vessel sailings has been achieved.

With the economy in China and Europe gradually picking up, I am confident that we have meanwhile reached the lowest point of the fall in seaborne cargo throughput caused by the pandemic, and will see a first noticeable recovery and improvement in the situation by the end of the year,' he said.

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