The port’s internal railway moved 62,000 freight trains with around 1.7 million box wagons, carrying a total of 48.2 million tonnes of freight, up 3%.

Rail carried 49.4% of the 97.5 million tonnes of freight that travelled to and from inland destinations, with road carrying 41.4% and inland waterways 9.2%.

“In achieving a new record, Hamburg further extended its position as Europe’s leading rail port,” says Mr Ingo Egloff, joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM). “Transferring freight shipments to rail and inland waterways helps to relieve pressure on roads.”

“We are continuing dedicated investment in infrastructure and digitalisation to keep the port on the successful course we have adopted,” says Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) CEO, Mr Jens Meier. “In recent weeks, for example, HPA achieved important milestones with the construction of the new Kattwyk rail bridge and the new Burchardkai link. Both will make our port more efficient and fit for the future.”

The new Kattwyk bridge provides a rail-only link over the Elbe river, relieving pressure on the existing road and rail Kattwyk bridge, while the Burchardkai link will renew the connections with the Burchardkai freight terminal.

Seaborne cargo throughput increased 1.1% to 136.6 million tonnes. The port handled 2.6 million TEU originating in or heading to China in 2019, a 1.7% increase, making the country the port’s most important partner.

“For the moment it remains impossible to be precise about the repercussions of the coronavirus on volumes in foreign trade with China,” says HHM executive board member, Mr Axel Mattern. “Depending on how long restrictions last in the Chinese economy, a marked downswing could occur. With some delay, that would then be reflected in freight handling to and from China in Hamburg. We can only assess the position at the end of the quarter, at the earliest.”

For 2020, HHM anticipates a stable result for container traffic and a slight increase in bulk freight handling.