Hamburg (dpa) – In light of the significant decline in cargo handling due to the Corona crisis, the Central Association of German Port Companies (ZDS) has asked politicians to become more engaged with the port industry.
“The corona pandemic resulted in significant losses in handling volumes, which are also reflected in operating results and companies’ ability to invest,” said ZDS President Frank Dreeke in Hamburg. “We look forward to a challenging year 2021 and we need an ambitious location policy from this and the next federal government.”
With reference to the Federal Statistical Office, the ZDS announced that the handling of German port companies had fallen by 15 million tons to 135.7 million tons in the first half of the year compared to the same period of the previous year due to to the crown. Container throughput decreased 11.3 percent in the first half of the year. For the year as a whole, a decrease in the median single-digit percentage range is assumed in all areas.
“In the case of car handling, business in some cases came to a complete halt in the spring, with individual locations seeing drops of 80 percent or even more,” said BLG’s ZDS President and CEO. Logistics Group in Bremen. He doesn’t expect a recovery until next year at the earliest. It doesn’t go much better with passenger transport. For example, the cruise business collapsed by 94 percent in the first seven months, while ferry connections were down by about 62 percent.
To ensure fair competition, the association called, among other things, to reduce truck tolls and increase broadband expansion. At least € 18 billion should be invested in transport infrastructure each year and planning and approval procedures should be shortened even further. “The German port industry needs a federal policy that eliminates competitive disadvantages and promotes innovation,” said Dreeke. German seaports are crucial to securing Germany’s position as a world export champion. Nationally, about 1.3 million people are employed in the port-dependent industry.
The ZDS also presented a position paper on the role of ports in the energy transition. Consequently, the infrastructure for ships powered by liquefied gas (LNG) needs to be significantly improved. The ports themselves should also be used as sites for research and development in the development of hydrogen technology. In addition, the expansion of offshore wind power should be accelerated and shore power for ships “should be more cost effective to reduce pollutant emissions from ships in ports,” said the association’s head, Dreeke.
Despite Wilhelmshaven’s temporary end as a location for an LNG terminal, the ZDS does not see the Jade Weser port, which has been ill for years, in danger. “Yes, we need a lot of patience to steer the use of the Jade-Weser port in a more satisfactory direction,” said Deeker. But also due to the many large container ships that have already been ordered from the yards, he is optimistic that the deep-sea port of Wilhelmshaven has a future.