China remains Port of Hamburg's most important trading partner

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China remains the most important trading partner of Germany's largest universal port Hamburg, Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) said on Monday.

The decline in seaborne container throughput with China recorded in the first COVID-19 year of 2020 has been halted as an increase of 5.5% year-on-year to 2.6 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) was logged in 2021, according to HHM's statement.

With the new China Germany Express (CGX) service, the German international shipping and container transportation company Hapag-Lloyd will connect the port of Hamburg with the southern Chinese DaChan Bay Terminal, which belongs to the Port of Shenzhen, on a weekly basis from April.

"This new container liner service will further expand the range of altogether 18 liner services linking Hamburg with Chinese ports and consolidate Hamburg's position as the leading China port," said Axel Mattern, HHM's chief executive officer (CEO).

In addition to sea transport, containers are also being transported in increasing numbers by rail between China and Hamburg. Around 160,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) were transported by rail between Hamburg and more than 25 destinations in China last year, an increase of 51%, according to the statement.

Although the 12,000-kilometer journey between China and Hamburg currently takes around 20 days for rail transport to complete, the land route via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is faster than by ship by sea, the port noted.

"For time-sensitive freight, the container train services therefore provide an attractive alternative for transport between Hamburg and China," Mattern said. More than 290 train connections linking Hamburg with China are marketed by different providers.

After the previous year's downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the seaborne cargo throughput at the port of Hamburg terminals recovered in 2021 and increased by 1.9% year-on-year to 128.7 million tons. 

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