Sector development

As expected by the experts of the market research institute Drewry, global container throughput decreased markedly in the first half of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though the decline in throughput of 2.7 % in the first quarter – measured by container throughput at ports worldwide – was not as drastic as its experts forecast in March, Drewry anticipates a slump in global container throughput of 16.2 % for the second quarter.

Development of container throughput by region

in %


Q2 | 20


Q1 | 20

Source: Drewry Maritime Research, July 2020



- 16.2


- 2.7

Europe as a whole


- 21.3


- 2.8

North-West Europe


- 16.7


- 2.9

Scandinavia and the Baltic region


- 33.3


- 2.4

Western Mediterranean


- 22.6


- 3.4

Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea


- 24.1


- 2.3

The shipping region Europe has been particularly hard hit by the crisis. After forecasting a moderate decrease in volumes at the European ports of 4.1 % for the second quarter in March 2020, Drewry’s experts now expect a massive decline of 21.3 %. The shipping regions of North-West Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic region are also likely to perform much worse in the second quarter than recent forecasts had predicted.

Container throughput in Rotterdam of 7.0 million TEU in the reporting period was 7.0 % down on the first half of 2019. In Antwerp, however, 0.4 % more containers passed over the quayside in the first six months. At the time of reporting, no half-year data was available for the German ports along the North Range. In the first five months of the year, throughput at the Bremen ports amounted to 2.0 million TEU – down 4.4 % on the previous year. The JadeWeserPort in Wilhelmshaven reported throughput of 106 thousand TEU for the first quarter of 2020, which corresponds to a year-on-year decrease of 48.3 % or almost half its handling volume. At 3,058 thousand TEU, throughput at the three container terminals in Hamburg was well below the prior-year level (by 12.0 %) in the first six months of 2020.