Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA) subsidiary Container-Transport-Dienst (CTD), which carries out a large proportion of the container transfers between the different terminals and depots at the Port of Hamburg, is increasingly using inland water vessels.
In May 2017, the company transported 1,058 of its 14,469 containers using these vessels, amounting to 7.2 percent, a record high for the company.
Although the majority of transfers are still carried out by truck, CTD’s Managing Director Ralph Frankenstein sees the waterway as an important alternative for the future: “We are trying to reduce the load on streets and bridges by moving increasingly towards ‘wet transfers’. Together with our customers and our partner, the Deutsche Binnenreederei (DBR), we actively seek out containers that are suitable for this method of transport. These include very heavy, 20-foot containers and multiple containers that need to be taken on similar routes.”
Particularly heavy goods include intermediate aluminum products and potatoes. A typical transfer might for example involve empty containers being brought from the Container Terminal Altenwerder to the O’Swaldkai multi-purpose terminal where they are loaded with cars and then taken back.
Frankenstein hopes to be able to win over more customers to this logistics concept. “Transporting containers on inland water vessels is not only a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solution, we also manage and assume custody of the containers on the customer’s behalf. If they wish, we can even put the containers on a train to take them out to the hinterland.”
HHLA recorded significant year-on-year growth in its key performance indicators in the first half of 2017. Group revenue rose by almost nine percent. Throughput at HHLA container terminals stood at 3.6 million TEUs – nearly 12 percent higher than in the first six months of last year. This growth was primarily driven by a recovery on Asian routes (+ 16.1 percent) and significant increase in feeder traffic with the Baltic Sea ports (+ 22.4 percent).