February 18 - Despite a year-on-year fall of seven percent in cargo volumes, the Seaports of Niedersachsen reports that individual business areas of its ports, such as the handling of wind energy components, forest products and automobiles, has seen posit

Seaports of Niedersachsen handled 46 million tonnes in 2013, compared to 49.2 million tonnes in 2012.

Notable achievements include a significant increase in the handling of general cargoes in Cuxhaven, such as components for the offshore wind energy industry, but also other project cargoes. Currently foundation structures for the Amrumbank West wind farm have been loaded and various service contracts for the offshore wind energy industry are performed in the offshore base at the port.

Although there was a 8 percent decline in total in Brake the port maintained its position as an important hub for steel shipments and project cargoes.

Emden's throughput was the same as in 2012 (4.4 million tonnes), but the port also saw significant gains in cargoes relating to wind power, with 267,696 tonnes handled in  2013; 45 percent more than in 2012 (184,428 tonnes).

In Nordenham, a 15 percent decline in cargoes was recorded, but the port sees new possibilities for handling renewable energy cargoes , such as shipments of submarine cables and other offshore components as well as other project cargoes.

In Stade, the new breakbulk terminal is seeing increased volumes of wind energy components and other project cargoes - 2,990 tonnes in 2013 compared to 2,528 tonnes in 2012.

The port of Wilhelmshaven handled a total of 24.5 million tons in 2013 and achieved significant growth in handling of general cargo as well as project cargoes like wind energy components.

Inke Onnen-Lubben, managing director of Seaports of Niedersachsen GmbH, believes the ports in Lower Saxony have to maintain their position in important and value-added core businesses and expand in the handling and storage of massive cargoes, dry bulk cargoes and project cargoes, such as in the field of wind energy.

"To gain a competitive edge over other European ports, especially in conventional cargoes, we must continue to support infrastructure expansion projects and develop better hinterland connections."

The Lower Saxony port operating companies and established industrial companies invested around EUR134 million last year.