German port is hub for China trade

Port of Hamburg China's Belt and Road Initiative has benefited the Port of Hamburg. Image: Port of Hamburg
Industry Database

A German port has said that China is now its largest trading partner, handling around 2.6m TEU or standard containers for the China Trade in 2018.

Almost one in three of all containers crossing the quay walls in the Port of Hamburg have China as their origin or destination. A total of 15 liner services link Hamburg with all China’s leading ports. In 2018 exports to China worth €5.3bn were handled via the Port of Hamburg in direct foreign trade between Hamburg and China, along with imports valued at €8.0bn. In 2018 the volume of goods transported by ocean-going vessels between Hamburg and China totalled around 24m tonnes.

“As a digital-innovative hub, HHLA is already very well positioned on maritime routes and the transcontinental Silk Road, said Thomas Lütje, marketing director for Hamburger Hafen- und Logistik AG – HHLA.

He added: “We have maintained close business links with Chinese companies for over 35 years. At Container Terminal Tollerort, every week we handle the Chinese shipping company Cosco’s largest containerships. Our rail subsidiary Metrans is extremely active on the new Silk Road. We have also long been contributing towards giving the Silk Road initiative an entrepreneurial identity.”

Along with transport by ship, since 2013 the New Silk Road, or Belt and Road Initiative, has developed overland as an attractive rail link and alternative to sea/air freight for time-sensitive freight. “As the hub for China cargoes transported by oceangoing vessel, with its far-reaching China expertise as well as excellent commercial connections, it is only logical that Hamburg should play a key role for rail shipments along the New Silk Road,” says Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg marketing.

Critics of the Belt and Road Initiative have expressed concern over China's growing maritime influence and management of European terminals.

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