August 18 - The Port of Hamburg handled a total of 72.6 million tonnes of cargo in the first six months of 2014, a 6.6 percent rise on the same period of 2013.

At 51.6 million tonnes in the first half of 2014, general cargo handled showed a year-on-year rise of 8.8 percent. The port handled a total of 50.7 million tonnes of containerised cargo, which is an increase of 6.8 percent compared with the same period of 2013.

Throughput in conventional general cargo also showed positive development with a 0.8 percent rise compared with the first half of 2013 at 930,000 tonnes. Of that figure, 302,000 tonnes of project and heavy lift cargo was handled at the port's terminals, which is a 1.7 percent rise on last year.

The Port of Hamburg attributed this rise in project cargo to a 33 percent year-on-year growth in imports to 66,000 tonnes.

Heinrich Ahlers, ceo of Buss Port Logistics underlined that accessibility to Hamburg's universal port for heavy lift cargoes is vital for many port companies and their employees.

"Project cargo safeguards jobs for port service providers and multipurpose terminals, such as our Buss Hansa Terminal. Hamburg policymakers must work together with the federal government and states to further maintain infrastructure, to avoid migration and the loss in value creation that would cause," said Ahlers.

Frank Horch, Hamburg's senator for economics, transport and innovation, commented on the need to secure the port's infrastructure: "It is our joint task to bring the transport chain in and through the Port of Hamburg back to the high level of reliability that made the port a preferred logistics service provider.

"Our investments in infrastructure are an absolute must. Today, those who make a case for less building, are putting the future of our location at risk."

Axel Mattern, member of Port of Hamburg Marketing's executive board, commented on the port's development and sustainability: "The port cargo handling business as well as the transport companies have impressively demonstrated that even with temporarily critical situations it is possible to move large volumes of cargo into the hinterland.

"We can now already say that the fourth tube of the Elbe Tunnel, which is again in use has visibly relieved the traffic situation. The maintenance work necessary on the Köhlbrand bridge in the port is also making good progress and will be completed in October."

If everything goes to plan for the Port of Hamburg, Mattern forecasts that the gateway will achieve an increase of 4 percent in sea cargo handling and 5 percent in container handling at the end of 2014.

Hamburg's expected total 2014 turnover of approximately 145 million tonnes would top the previous record achieved in 2008, which stands at 140 million tonnes of sea cargo.