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Lower first-quarter seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg – repercussions of the corona crisis make their mark

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Lower first-quarter seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg – repercussions of the corona crisis make their mark. Image: HHM / Michael Lindner
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Even Germany’s largest universal port is affected by the repercussions of the corona crisis. Seaborne cargo throughput in the first quarter of the year at 31.9 million tons was 7.9 percent down on 2019. Container handling at 2.2 million TEU was 6.6 percent lower. Container hinterland transport services remains comparatively stable, while the drop in demand for transhipment handling was more obvious.

The Port of Hamburg remains fully operational. In the difficult economic conditions caused by the worldwide corona crisis, the port performs an essential function in maintaining reliable supplies of products and raw materials for the economy and the population.

The slackening of import and export flows apparent in Germany’s largest universal port can be explained by the interruption to transport and supply chains caused by the impact of the corona crisis. “The partial shutdown of the Chinese economy, resulting in blank sailings in shipping, has led to lower cargo handling in Hamburg as well,” explained Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.

Lower first-quarter seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg – repercussions of the corona crisis make their mark. Image: HMM

Lower first-quarter seaborne cargo throughput in the Port of Hamburg – repercussions of the corona crisis make their mark. Image: HMMMattern pointed out that the port with its high-performance cargo handling terminals and inland transport services remains fully operational. He expressed thanks for their dedication at a difficult time to the port’s up to 156,000 directly and indirectly employed staff and the companies in the seaport business, who all ensure smooth cargo handling, day in, day out. “We assume that with its large workforce and well-established enterprises, the Port of Hamburg will successfully surmount this crisis,” said Mattern.

In the container handling segment, in the first quarter of 2020 a total of 2.2 million TEU – 20-ft standard containers – were loaded or discharged across the quay walls of the Port of Hamburg, representing a 6.6 percent downturn on the previous year. Among the Port of Hamburg’s most important partner countries by volume on seaborne container traffic, first-quarter trends varied a great deal.

At 579,400 TEU, the total number of containers handled during the first quarter in the Port of Hamburg for China, its most important trading partner, was 14.6 percent lower. “The downturn in seaborne cargo throughput with China is explicable in connection with the repercussions of the corona crisis,” said Mattern.

Following in second place in the ranking of Hamburg’s container partners, in the first quarter the USA accounted for 146,100 TEU, still reporting 20.7 percent growth. “This strikingly good trend in container services with the USA is attributable to four container services newly started from Hamburg at the beginning of 2019. These made excellent progress and ensured larger throughput volumes, above all with US East Coast ports,” said Mattern.

In third place with 111,000 TEU, Singapore also achieved an advance in the first three months of the year. Growth of 10.5 percent was reported for seaborne container traffic. Axel Mattern surmised that the trend can be explained by the transfer of transhipment services from other Asian countries to Singapore.

In Hamburg, by contrast, the transhipment sector, or container throughput between ocean-going and feeder vessels, was especially affected by the corona crisis with a decline of 10.8 per cent to 772,000 TEU. Seaport-hinterland container services by rail, truck and inland waterway craft proved more stable in the first quarter, volume being just four percent lower at 1.4 million TEU.

Of such significance for the Port of Hamburg, railborne freight transport, down 4.3 percent at 11.9 million tons, or 4.6 percent at 663,000 TEU, on the first quarter of 2019, was still at a considerably higher level than the 612,000 TEU for I/2018.

“In recent weeks the Port of Hamburg’s superb hinterland connection has played a major part in ensuring that even in difficult times its effectiveness has remained unimpaired,” said Jens Meier, CEO of HPA. “Despite temporarily lower container volumes caused by the corona crisis, in the first quarter the Port Railway was able to report stable utilization and indeed even to improve on the 2018 level. That was by no means to be taken for granted, but is the result of systematically boosting efficiency and continuously expanding the Hamburg Port Railway.”

First-quarter throughput of bulk cargoes was 11.9 percent lower at 9.4 million tons. In this throughput segment, exports performed well, being 11.9 percent higher at 2.7 million tons. The trend was sustained by notable increases in exports of grain, up 177.2 percent at 694,000 tons, and of fertilizers, 8.1 percent higher at 638,000 tons.

For the next few months, Axel Mattern assumes that the Port of Hamburg must initially adapt to a continuation of blank sailings and falling total throughput. “From June, it is entirely possible that with a gradual pick-up in the economy in China and Europe, we shall be seeing an increase in sailings and rising volumes on port throughput and seaport-hinterland services,” asserted a confident Mattern.

Maritime

Malta Freeport Terminals upgrades to Navis N4 3.7 via remote assistance

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Malta Freeport Terminals upgrades to Navis N4 3.7 via remote assistance. Image: Navis
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Navis, part of Cargotec Corporation, the provider of operational technologies and services that unlock greater performance and efficiency for leading organizations throughout the global shipping industry, announced that Malta Freeport Terminals upgraded to N4 3.7 with 100% remote assistance from Navis.

Despite COVID-19 forcing travel restrictions around the world, Malta Freeport Terminals was determined to proceed with its business plan and achieve its set goals amidst the pandemic and leveraged remote support from Navis to stick to their timeline.

Strategically located at the center of the Mediterranean, Malta Freeport Terminals is one of the busiest container terminals in Europe, handling a trade volume of nearly 3 million TEU annually.

In Q4 of 2019, MFT initiated an upgrade project with Navis to implement the latest Equipment Control and RTG Optimization solutions to help move the terminal towards semi-automation operations through N4 3.7.Due to the dedication of both the MFT and Navis teams, the remote upgrade was successfully completed on May 1, 2020, which was right on schedule.

“With the flow of trade being more important than ever, we are constantly looking to invest in cutting-edge ways to improve our services and scale our business. Upgrading to N4 3.7 enables MFT to utilize the new generation of RTG optimization with semi automation features.,” said Jesmond Baldacchino, Head of IT at Malta Freeport Terminals.

“Ahead of the remote go-live, our team completed a risk assessment to mitigate any potential issues that could arise, and along with the Navis team, determined it was the right course of action to move forward. We are thrilled with the outcome and appreciate the level of support Navis provided us throughout the complete process.”

“This is a strategic shift for Navis as a company and proud moment for our team. As a partner to our customers, we want to support them to manage their business more efficiently under any circumstances,” said Chuck Schneider, Chief Customer Officer at Navis.

“Being able to pivot our go-live strategy while still meeting the customer’s deadline for implementation, is a true testament to the dedication of both teams. The success of Malta Freeport has paved the way for other terminals with remote upgrades in these unprecedented times and beyond.”

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Container Terminal

Global Ports introduces a new mobile harbour crane to PLP

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Global Ports introduces a new mobile harbour crane to PLP. Image: Global Ports
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Global Ports Investments PLC announces that a new LIEBHERR LHM 550 mobile harbour crane was put into operation at the Petrolesport terminal in the Greater Port of Saint Petersburg. The equipment was purchased as part of the Global Ports facility development and upgrade programme in Russia.

The crane, which has a capacity of 144 tonnes, was manufactured for the Group at LIEBHERR’s facility in Rostock (Germany) and was delivered pre-assembled to PLP by sea.

A LIEBHERR LHM 550 crane is capable of operating in hook, crossbeam, spreader and tipping modes and has high mobility and manoeuvring ability. Its ergonomic tower crane cab offers excellent visibility and safe control of all operating crane movements.

PLP is one of the leaders in the transshipment of heavy and oversized equipment in the Northwest Basin. The commissioning of the new crane will allow the terminal to increase the throughput and the cargo handling efficiency, to optimize the costs of equipment repair and maintenance, while maintaining high quality of service for customers.

The acquisition of a second similar crane is expected in late 2020 — early 2021 as part of the development and upgrade programme. The presence of two modern mobile cranes with increased lifting capacity, which can work synchronously, will expand the capabilities of PLP in handling heavy, oversized and project cargoes, in particular for the oil and power industries. In synchronous mode, the cranes can handle cargoes weighing up to 270 tonnes.

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Heavy Lift

Hydro Deck’s one-of-its-kind design enables efficiency for offshore windfarm project

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Hydro Deck’s one-of-its-kind design enables efficiency for offshore windfarm project. Image: Mammoet
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Its task was to transport a 5,000t offshore substation topside and a 1,500t reaction compensation station topside from Batam, Indonesia to Singapore.

Hydro Deck’s large cargo surface area (5,600m2) allowed Mammoet to hold the two topsides and transport them in a single trip. This reduced the necessity to perform operational work more than once.

Combining Hydro Deck’s rapid ballasting system capacity with the flexibility of having roll-on/roll-off ramps on both the bow and stern of the barge, Mammoet minimized movement and rotation of the Hydro Deck. This was crucial because the operational period saw high sea traffic at both Batam and Singapore shipyards.

For this project, Mammoet redesigned the mooring arrangement by installing four additional mooring winches and eight roller fairleads on the Hydro Deck. This meant the barge did not need to be rotated, with load-in and load-out performed from either the bow or stern side.

Using a minimal number of maneuvers, the team was able to perform the load-in and load-out efficiently, maintaining the high safety standards required by the shipyard, while accommodating the reduced space available due to high sea traffic. A close eye was always kept on safety; by ensuring the rapid ballast system capacity met standards, and through maintenance on the system taking place on a regular basis, sharing updates with the client.

Besides the use of Hydro Deck as an interim barge, Mammoet supplied many services as a single point of contact. These included barging, weighing, mooring, ballasting, towing, tug management, plus load-out and load-in using 200 axle lines of SPMT.

Mammoet’s complete solution enabled the transportation of the topsides in one single journey.

The Hydro Deck is a floating pontoon developed in collaboration with AG&P for a range of operational needs in locations with extreme tidal variations. It increases the efficiency of operations where port facilities are less available or – as here – rapid ballasting is a key consideration.

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