Freight News, Sea

Virus hits Hamburg volumes

[ August 24, 2020   //   ]

The Corona pandemic hit the port of Hamburg’s cargo volumes in the first six months of the year, which fell by 12% to 61.2 million tonnes. Containers were down 12.4% to 4.1 million teu, affected by the slower Chinese economy and cancellations of sailings.

Imports were particularly badly hit, down 16.3% in the first six months at 33.7 million tonnes. Reduced steel production, in particular, led to lower throughput of ore and coal.

Exports, at 27.5 million tonnes, declined by only 6.1%.

Joint chief executive of Port of Hamburg Marketing, Axel Mattern, said: “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.”

One bright spot was trade with the UK, up 39%, though most of the increase were repositioned empty containers.

Fellow jJoint chief executive Ingo Egloff said: “I am confident that we have …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. While being almost 12 percent lower by comparison with last year, in June, for example, output in manufacturing industry was already 8.9% up on the previous month

But he added: “Even if the export side is reporting some growth, it will be some time before we are again at pre-crisis level. And here we have entirely ignored trade wars, sanctions, and corona outbreaks in other parts of the world. On top of that comes German reluctance to consume, the impact being put at €130 billion. That naturally depresses imports of consumer goods such as textiles.”