Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/18/2013 -- 2013 will see the German freight industry slowly returning to some semblance of healthy growth as it seeks to put an abysmal 12 months behind it. Following 2012's estimated 0.61% year-on-year (y-o-y) contraction in growth in the road freight sphere, 2013 will represent a welcome return to growth, albeit at a muted 0.49%.
The outperformer in the freight mix will be air freight, slightly ahead of rail, while the Port of Bremerhaven will lead the way in terms of both tonnage and box throughput in 2013. Germany's Bremerhaven and Bremen ports registered a 17.3% y-o-y rise in total throughput to 80.6mn tonnes in 2011, compared with 68.7mn tonnes in 2010. In terms of ocean freight throughput, the year was the ports' most successful to date.
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In the same period, Bremerhaven Container Terminal recorded a 21% y-o-y rise in container throughput to 5.92mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), exceeding its competitors in the north range. The loading and discharging of vehicles registered a 30.4% y-o-y rise to 2.13mn units during 2011, while total freight volume grew by 22% y-o-y to 67.7mn tonnes, compared with 55.5mn tonnes a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the Port of Rotterdam is the largest container port in Europe but faces growing competition from Hamburg and Antwerp. Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Linde Group. The MoU is aimed at promoting the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel for shipping and other freight modes, such as road haulage. The primary objective is to prepare a feasibility study in a bid to assess the economic viability of LNG. The initial results of the study are scheduled to be released by mid-2012, after which concrete infrastructure projects, such as the building of an LNG terminal at the Port of Hamburg, may be started.
Jens Meier, the chairman of the port authority management board, said that the authority aims to develop sustainable long-term solutions, taking into account economic framework conditions as well as a greater emphasis on green technologies.
The risks to our core forecasts have clearly shifted downwards as the eurozone crisis has escalated. In the near term, the biggest risks are an unfavourable election result in Greece and a failure to contain the banking crisis stirring in Spain. In the case of the former, the election of an anti-bailout government would elevate the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone. Despite murmurings among some politicians in the bloc that this scenario would be manageable, the risk of such a development severely destabilising the currency union would be high in our view. Spain, meanwhile, is in need of immediate relief in the form of financial support for the banking system.
Headline Industry Data
- 2013 air freight tonnage is expected to grow by 2.60%
- 2013 rail freight is forecast to grow by 2.46%
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