EuropePorts and Logistics

Hamburg takes 500,000 teu of business away from rival Bremerhaven

The port of Hamburg is celebrating a big win over local rival Bremerhaven with news container grouping THE Alliance is switching base ports for its transatlantic network.

Hapag-Lloyd, the largest member of THE Alliance, said in a recent customer advisory that the service relocation would provide improved hinterland connections and better access to the Hamburg city region’s strong local market.

The planned shift, likely in the final quarter this year, will deal a “major blow” to Eurogate’s common-user terminal at Bremerhaven, where the four transatlantic loops are currently handled, analysts at Alphaliner stated in a recent weekly report.

Alphaliner estimates that the four services combined account for some 500,000 teu of annual cargo handling at Bremerhaven, roughly 9% of the port’s full-year throughput and possibly close to half of Eurogate Bremerhaven’s volume, excluding NTB and MSC Gate, where Eurogate is also involved.

Historically, Bremerhaven has been regarded as the main container gateway to the US from Germany, whereas Hamburg is better known for its Asian links.

“Such a large-scale re-location will require major changes to long-established hinterland links with large shippers, including the re-routing of block trains and tightly-timed industrial supply chains,” Alphaliner observed.

In other news relating to Hamburg, the port is taking a further step toward improving air quality. Innovative technology developed in the city is set to enable large and very large container ships to switch off their auxiliary diesel supplies during lay time and instead draw the power they need for onboard operations from a new kind of mobile generator. Becker Marine Systems, Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA) have been testing the new technology as part of a joint pilot project since the start of the year.

Technology supplier Becker Marine Systems developed the mobile power generator, then partnered with Hapag-Lloyd and HHLA for the test phase. The Becker LNG PowerPac supplies eco-friendly power to containerships at the HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB). Over the past few weeks, a prototype has been successfully tested multiple times with some of Hapag-Lloyd’s giant 20,000 teu containerships.

The Becker LNG PowerPac is a compact system the size of two 40-foot containers. The unit comprises a gas-powered generator and an LNG tank, which provides the energy for the generator. As soon as a containership docks, a container gantry crane lifts the mobile 1.5 MW power generator from the quay into position at the stern of the ship. Once there, it is connected to the ship’s power system and can supply the electricity needed for onboard operations while the ship is docked.

Becker Marine Systems is now in conversation with a variety of European and Chinese ports to sell the systems overseas.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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