Hamburg has one of the most comprehensive liner networks in Europe, which in turn means that it plays an important role as a transport hub for global cargo flows. Specialized liner traffic connects Hamburg to six continents. Over 100 container liner services traveling to destinations all over the world are based in Hamburg.

One of the main markets for the Port of Hamburg is liner services from and to the Far East. In 2008 an average of 30 weekly full container services called at the Port of Hamburg. This is a reflection of the Hanseatic city’s extensive competence as regards the Asian trade.

Nineteen new liner services were established in 2008. Eight of them sail on shipping routes to the Far East; three to India and the Middle East; two to South America and one each on routes in the regions North America, Australia / Oceania, Africa, the Mediterranean and the North and Baltic Seas.

In the period January to December 2008 the following shipping companies, among others, set up new services departing from Hamburg:

  • The Atlantic Container Line re-located its ConRo service, located for many years in Bremerhaven, to the Elbe in January
  • In April CKYH Allianz included the Port of Hamburg, Europe’s key maritime port for Far East and China cargo, on the sailing list for the so-called China-Red Sea-Europe Service.
  • In October shipping company MSC included Hamburg on the sailing list for a weekly service between northern Europe to the east coast of South America.
  • Since December the new Euro Aegean Service of shipping company Grimaldi Lines has made it possible to ship any kind of RoRo unit to the Mediterranean region.

Additional connections were also created by, among other things, re-structuring of existing services.

Shipping companies responded to the global economic crisis by revising capacities in the third and fourth quarters of 2008. Overall 19 liner services in Hamburg were discontinued in 2008. These measures, some of which were temporary, primarily affected Far Eastern shipping routes.

2008 saw an unusually high number of first calls to the Port of Hamburg. The largest container ships that were handled for the first time in Hamburg in 2008 were the CGM CGM VELA, the COSCO OCEANIA, the MSC ASYA and the NYK ORION with slot capacities ranging from 9000 to 11000 TEU (20 foot standard containers). Furthermore Hamburg also plays an important role in international merchant shipping – as a port of call for tramp and charter ships and also as the headquarters of numerous shipping quarters.

The re-orientation of liner services has continued in the current year.

CMA CGM’s French-Asia-Line 3 recommenced service between Hamburg and the Far East in January 2009, thus replacing the temporary call at Bremerhaven.

In addition to this, the AEC-2 service, only transferred by shipping company United Arab Shipping Corp. (UASC), headquartered in Kuwait, to Bremerhaven in November, was relocated back to Hamburg in January under the name AEC-1 and supplements port rotation with calls in Jebel Ali.

As regards the Far East, discontinuation of less important liner service activities has meant that in absolute terms there has, however, been a loss of three services to date.

As regards South American shipping routes, following its break with CMA CGM, Hapag- Lloyd and Hamburg Süd Chilean shipping company CSAV has been running its EuroAndes South American service independently since January. Parallel to this CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd started their own South American service, EuroAndes - ES 2.