Germany's biggest port handles fewer goods in 2023

BERLIN, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Germany's largest seaport, the Port of Hamburg, in 2023 handled 114.3 million tons of goods, 4.7 percent less than in the previous year, Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) said on Tuesday.

The port's container throughput decreased by 6.9 percent to 7.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), according to HHM. In the first half of 2023, the decline was even more pronounced at 11.7 percent.

"Geopolitical and economic challenges weighed on throughput in all North Range ports," the company said in a statement, adding that Germany's weakening economy and subdued consumer sentiment also negatively affected the port's business.

Bulk cargo throughput, on the other hand, remained "largely stable, ensuring a consistent supply for Germany's economy," the company said. As in the previous year, the port registered more calls by vessels of the ultra-large and megamax classes with a capacity of 10,000 TEUs or more.

"When we look at the development of our throughput figures, we are on the same level as our Northern European competitors and are holding our own well compared to other ports," HHM Chief Executive Officer Axel Mattern said.

With 2.2 million TEUs handled, China remained the port's largest trading partner in 2023, followed by the United States with 653,000 TEUs.

China was Germany's most important trading partner for the eighth year in a row in 2023 with a foreign trade volume of 253.1 billion euros (274.7 billion U.S. dollars), according to the Federal Statistical Office.

After the German economy shrank by 0.3 percent in 2023, many experts predict Europe's largest economy to slide deeper into recession this year, though the German government is still forecasting a slight growth in gross domestic product of 0.2 percent in 2024. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollar)

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