Port of Hamburg Q1 2024 container throughput improves

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Container throughput in the Port of Hamburg rose to 1.9 million TEU in Q1 2024, while total seaborne cargo hit 27.4 million tonnes.

Container throughput in the Port of Hamburg improved to 1.9 million TEU in the first quarter of 2024 – despite tense geopolitical and economic conditions.

USA traffic continued to develop very positively, setting a new record. Hinterland and transhipment traffic benefitted from the increase in container throughput and showed an upward trend.

Overall, total seaborne cargo throughput stands at 27.4 million tonnes and is affected by declining bulk cargo transport.

More containers handled

Container throughput in the Port of Hamburg rose by 1.1% to 1.9 million TEU in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Container throughput by tonnage also increased by 0.7% to 19.0 million tonnes.

Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, explains: “The development of container throughput suggests that, despite the current events in the Red Sea, trade is stabilising and the recovery process is continuing.” He adds, “The quarterly results cover a short period and are not indicative of throughput trends for the remainder of the year.”

Total seaborne cargo throughput in the first three months of this year was 27.4 million tonnes. This is a decrease of 3.3% compared to the same period last year. The main reason for this is a lower turnover in bulk goods at 8.2 million 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.

USA continues on record course

A look at the Port of Hamburg’s strongest container shipping routes reveals a remarkable record in throughput with the USA. In the first three months, 179,000 TEU were handled. This corresponds to an increase of 17.7%. This robust growth is in line with increased resilience by diversifying the port’s partner structure. Container traffic with China remained in the lead, with 536,000 TEU and an increase of 2.9%.

Container traffic with Mexico also developed very positively. With 27,000 TEUs handled, the Port of Hamburg recorded an increase of 32.2% on this route compared to the same period last year.

Additionally, container throughput with Morocco is worth highlighting. At 34,000 TEU, container traffic increased by 44.9%, setting a new record in trade with Morocco. This result indicates that transhipment traffic to the Mediterranean has increased due to the aforementioned situation in the Red Sea.

In total, the Port of Hamburg handled 625,400 TEU of transhipment traffic, representing a 3.0% increase compared to the same period last year.

Number of ship calls rises

The number of ship calls with container slot capacities increased overall in the first quarter of 2024. Ships with a medium capacity of 4,000 to 10,000 TEU made a particularly strong contribution. In contrast, the number of calls by container ships with more than 10,000 TEU decreased.

One reason for this was the diversion of ships around the Cape of Good Hope. This resulted in longer sailing times, which meant that fewer large container ships were calling at the Port of Hamburg on these routes at the beginning of the year.

Increase in hinterland transport

Seaport-hinterland transport by rail remained stable in the first quarter. Container throughput increased by 0.9% to 641,000 TEU. Rail transport therefore accounts for more than half of container hinterland traffic. In terms of tonnes, rail transport to the hinterland remained almost stable at 11.5 million tonnes (-0.6%) after a strong quarter in the previous year.

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