Development of coal imports in the Port of Hamburg

In August 2020, coal imports increased again significantly compared to the previous months of this year (average 351,000 tons), rising to almost 600,000 tons. This is the best result since January 2020. In the months from January to August 2020, coal/coke imports in the Port of Hamburg had fallen by 38.6 percent from January to August 2020. 

Beside the corona-related temporary reduction in demand in the automotive industry, which in turn affects the demand for steel and thus the coal required for steel production, the demand for coal for power generation in power plants is also affected. Due to the energy system transformation and the politically intended coal phase-out, the energy transition is tending more towards gas and wind power instead of coal.

Also, the weather and a favorable gas price accelerated this demand in favor of alternative energy sources. In addition, and not unusual, in the second quarter, some power plants carried out their power plant overhauls, which temporarily reduced the demand for coal. The restart of the power plants in the third quarter, the prospect of rising demand from the steel industry and the acquisition of additional volume from another "western port" gives confidence that volumes in Hamburg will rise again in the second half of the year. Most of the coal imported by sea came from Russia, but there were also imports from the USA, Canada, and Australia.

2019: Decline in coal imports

Germany's largest universal port reported good results for 2019 with a sea cargo turnover of 136.6 million tons (+1.1 percent). Despite a slowdown in global trade and existing trade sanctions, Hamburg performed very well in a difficult environment.

A record volume of coal was also brought to Hamburg in the previous year. However, demand for coal-based electricity was lower in 2019. The lower revenue situation for the power plants (energy producers) also reduced the demand for coal (production was temporarily shut down), which was further intensified by the mild weather. This and the speculative purchase of coal led to filled warehouses and to a 9.9 percent decline in imports in 2019 to 7.296 million tons.

 Source: Port of Hamburg Marketing