“The partial shutdown of the Chinese economy, resulting in
blank sailings in shipping, led to lower cargo handling in Hamburg,” explained
Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing in a press release details
the first quarter results. He attributed the slackening of import and export
that the Hamburg port experienced to the interruption of transport and supply
chains caused by the corona virus.
Like many ports around the world, Hamburg experienced a
significant decline in container handling during the quarter. Containers were down nearly 7 percent to a
total of just over 2 million TEUs.
The port handled 579,400 TEUs for China, which was a nearly
15 percent decline, but conversely container volume to the United States grew
over 20 percent to 146,100 TEUs. This
growth was largely due to four new containers services started between Hamburg
and the United States at the beginning of 2019.
Container volume from Hamburg to Singapore also increased by
10 percent to over 111,000 TEUs. However, Hamburg reported that the
transhipment sector, or container throughput between ocean-going and feeder
vessels, was especially hard hit declining nearly 11 percent. First-quarter throughput of bulk cargoes was
also down nearly 12 percent.
Commenting on the outlook, Mattern says that the Port of
Hamburg expects to see a continuation of blank sailings and falling total
throughput. “From June, it is entirely
possible that with a gradual pick-up in the economy in China and Europe, we
shall be seeing an increase in sailings and rising volumes on port throughput
and seaport-hinterland services,” said Mattern.