Policy Article

At the Pulse of World Trade - Cargo Handling in the Port of Hamburg during the Corona Crisis


  • Jessen-Thiesen
  • L.
Publication Date

The author shows that during the Corona crisis, goods handled per quarter in the Port of Hamburg fell by almost 16 percent. Along with the slump in EU goods trade, the Port of Hamburg handled significantly fewer goods in the second quarter of 2020. The decline in cargo handling was more drastic than at any time since the global economic and financial crisis in 2008/09. The analysis makes it clear that the Port of Hamburg was severely affected by the Corona crisis compared to competitor ports, as the pandemic-related declines in Asian traffic, which is important for Hamburg, had a particular impact here. In the course of 2020, a recovery set in, so that as early as the third quarter of 2020, cargo handling was only 8 percent below the previous year's level. However, the author also points out that even before the pandemic, the port of Hamburg - unlike Rotterdam or Antwerp, for example - was not on course for growth. The structural challenges for the future of the Port of Hamburg exist largely independently of the development in the course of the pandemic.

Kiel Institute Expert


Key Words

  • Corona crisis
  • Federal States
  • Hamburg
  • port industry
  • regional policy