The port of Hamburg

Port of Hamburg - Port de Hambourg

Port of Hamburg – Port de Hambourg

In the port of Hamburg, around 9,000 ship calls per year, almost 300 berths and a total of 43 kilometers of quay for seagoing vessels, more than 1,900 freight trains per week, four state-of-the-art container terminals, three cruise terminals and around 50 facilities specialized in handling roro and breakbulk and all kinds of bulk cargoes, along with about 7,300 logistics companies within the city limits – these are just a few of the factors making the Port of Hamburg to one of the world’s most flexible, high-performance universal ports. 137.8 million tons of cargo crossed the quay walls of Germany’s largest seaport in 2015. That included around 8.8 million standard containers (TEU). Hamburg is accordingly the third largest container port in Europe and in the 18th place on the list of the world’s largest container ports [Source: ]


The port is almost as old as the history of Hamburg itself. Founded on 7 May 1189 by Frederick I for its strategic location, it has been Central Europe‘s main port for centuries and enabled Hamburg to develop early into a leading city of trade with a rich and proud bourgeoisie.

During the age of the Hanseatic League from the 13th to 16th century, Hamburg was considered second only to the port and city of Lübeck in terms of its position as a central trading node for sea-borne trade. With discovery of the Americas and the emerging transatlantic trade, Hamburg exceeded all other German ports. During the second half of the 19th century, Hamburg became Central Europe’s main hub for transatlantic passenger and freight travel, and from 1871 onward it was Germany’s principal port of trade. In her time the Hamburg America Line was the largest shipping company in the world. Since 1888, the HADAG runs a scheduled ferry service across various parts of the port and the Elbe. The Free Port, established on 15 October 1888, enabled traders to ship and store goods without going through customs and further enhanced Hamburg’s position in sea trade with neighbouring countries. The Moldauhafen has a similar arrangement, though related to the Czech Republic exclusively.

The Speicherstadt, one of Hamburg’s architectural icons today, is a large wharf area of 350,000 m² floor area on the northern shore of the river, built in the 1880s as part of the free port and to cope with the growing quantity of goods stored in the port.

Hamburg shipyards lost fleets twice after WWI and WWII, and during the partition of Germany between 1945 and 1990, the Port of Hamburg lost much of its hinterland and consequently many of its trading connections. However, since German reunification, the fall of the Iron Curtain and European enlargement, Hamburg has made substantial ground as one of Europe’s prime logistics centres and as one of the world’s largest and busiest sea ports. [Source: Wikipedia]