Expansion flagged at port of Hamburg

8th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 May 2007, Hamburg (dpa) - Civic authorities detailed Tuesday plans to bring in private investors to double the container capacity of the port of Hamburg, Germany's biggest seaport, as globalization boosts merchant shipping worldwide. Singapore is the world's biggest container port, handling the equivalent of 24.8 million units last year, German statisticians said Tuesday. Hamburg, currently eighth-largest, aims to boost its capacity to 18 million units annually by 2015. That would still fall well short o

8 May 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - Civic authorities detailed Tuesday plans to bring in private investors to double the container capacity of the port of Hamburg, Germany's biggest seaport, as globalization boosts merchant shipping worldwide.

Singapore is the world's biggest container port, handling the equivalent of 24.8 million units last year, German statisticians said Tuesday. Hamburg, currently eighth-largest, aims to boost its capacity to 18 million units annually by 2015.

That would still fall well short of the ports of Hong Kong (23.5 million) and Shanghai (21.7 million), the German Federal Statistics Office said in a world survey. Container volume is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

Asian ports occupy all six top spots currently: the others are Shenzhen near Hong Kong, Pusan in South Korea and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. Rotterdam, Europe's top container port, places seventh in the world with 9.6 million TEU, the statisticians said.

Eighth-placed Hamburg's plans are driven by the fear that a new German port to be built on an empty North Sea coastal site will take away the city's principal business. Work on the Jade-Weser Port and roads to serve it has yet to begin.

Senator Michael Freytag, head of Hamburg's finance ministry, said 2.9 billion euros (3.9 billion dollars) would be invested in the port of Hamburg, "our biggest investment in the future of the decade."

Funding would come from the city-state, the Hamburg Port Authority and from an equity sale of 30 per cent of the state-owned stevedoring company, HHLA.

Freytag said he expected HHLA shares to be traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, but a direct sale to big investors was also possible. To head off labour anger over the sale, wharf workers will be invited to buy up to 2,800 euros of shares per head.

The expansion plan also faces attack from environmentalists, since the Elbe river must be dredged much deeper to accommodate the biggest new container ships.

The growth in world container shipping is being attributed above all to the rise in Asia's exports to Europe and North America.

In a comparison with a similar 2005 survey, the German statisticians said Rotterdam's lead over Hamburg (8.9 million TEU) has been shrinking: Hamburg traffic had grown nearly 10 per cent in the past two years whereas Rotterdam trans-shipments were up just 3.4 per cent.

DPA

Subject: German news

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