The economic crisis triggered by the spread of the pandemic and the consequent drop in global demand has not spared even the Northern European high-performance ports.
Hamburg, for example, closed the first nine months of the year with a total throughput of 6.3 million TEUs and a downturn of 9.9% compared to the same period in 2019. The German port’s turnover has been mainly driven down by the negative performance recorded in trade relations with China: trade volumes with Beijing fell by 11.3% during this period.
In Rotterdam, the CEO of the local Port Authority, Allard Castelein, believes it is still too early to say if the worst is really behind us. What is certain is that the port’s overall traffic was down by 8.8% in the first nine months of the year, mainly due to the negative performance recorded in liquid and solid bulk cargo imports. Containerized traffic fell by 5.7% to 5.5 million TEUs between January and September.
The Port of Antwerp, on the other hand, has shown greater resilience, with an annual downturn in containerized traffic of 0.1% to 8.8 million TEUs. This is due, according to the port’s Chief Executive, Jacques Vandermeiren, to the progressive reduction in the number of blank sailings since August and the reorganization of many shipping companies, which have added extra sailings to compensate for the effects of the first lockdown.
Translation by Giles Foster