Port of Kiel throughput up 14.3% to 7,407.376 tons in 2017
In 2017 Kiel again posted record handling while also passing the seven million ton mark for the first time. Overall, 7,407.376 tons were loaded or unloaded, the company said in its press release. That represents an increase of 14.3 % over the previous year and is the best annual result ever achieved by the port. Dr Dirk Claus, the Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) said: “Kiel achieved a top result and improved performance in all sectors. Particularly outstanding were developments at the SCA Forest Products Terminal, which fulfilled all the high expectations and fully justified our investment.” The same can also be said of ferry traffic to Scandinavia (including SCA RoRo business) and into the Baltic region and to Russia - which together made up well over 80 % of all port activity and showed an overall rise of 12.3 %. Growth on the Kiel-St Petersburg route was above average, if at a lower level, and posted a 20 % increase.
The biggest percentage growth in 2017 was achieved by the bulk goods sector where handling was 24 % higher than the previous year. In passenger traffic a total of 2,117.389 people embarked on or disembarked from a ferry or cruise ship during the year. That’s an increase of 1.6 % and is also a new record for the port of Kiel.
In the Ostuferhafen the new Forest Products Centre stimulated growth and in doing so completely fulfilled the high expectations placed on it. In its first full year of operation well over 780,000 tons of paper products were offloaded, stored and distributed for the Swedish concerns SCA and Iggesund. “Paper - one of the most important trading commodities in the Baltic region - has returned to the Kiel Fiord”, said Dirk Claus: “Our investment has re-established Kiel in this market sector.” The SCA Terminal was built on a site of about 16 hectares in the northern part of the Ostuferhafen and inaugurated in November 2016. In excess of 50,000 m² of warehouse space is available in five harbour sheds. A total of 25 million Euros have been invested and 80 new jobs created. SCA cargo ships call at Kiel from Sundsvall every Monday and Saturday unloading up to 160 cassettes of newsprint, kraftliners or high-value cardboard. A second cassette hall is currently being built in the Ostuferhafen to provide temporary covered storage for even more of these transport units. The 2,800 m² Shed 7 represents an investment of more than two million Euros and will go into operation this spring.
In the ferry traffic sector in 2017, Stena Line in particular showed strong growth on the Kiel-Gothenburg route, posting a 9.4 % (187,000 tons) rise in business. The biggest volume handled was on the Kiel-Klaipeda service of the DFDS Shipping Company which was just ahead of that carried by the Stena Line - with both services reporting more than two million tons. “Kiel was able to show strong growth in its core business sector”, said Dirk Claus “and is the market leader in ferry traffic into the Baltic region and to western Sweden and Norway. In addition, ferry services with Russia are now again also becoming more significant”, he added. More than 150,000 tons a week were again handled in 2017 on the DFDS Shipping Company’s RoRo services with St Petersburg. “To support the positive developments in Russia business we put a new warehouse into operation at the beginning of the year, exclusively for Siberian forest products”, said Dirk Claus.
Overall, more than 225,000 trucks, trailers and import and export vehicles as well as buses (up 5.4%) moved on ferry services last year via Kiel with Scandinavia, the Baltic and Russia while just about 200,000 cars (up 5.1 %) drove on or off a ship. In addition to that, some 28,000 containers were moved – an increase of 14.5 % over the previous year. A total of more than 450,000 unit loads (5.8 % more) were handled. Dirk Claus said: “Good port accessibility is of fundamental importance for both freight and passenger services. The expansion of the A7 and A21 motorways, which is now under way, will also increase the attraction of Kiel as a location.”
Color Line, once again posting 1.1 million passengers, remains the port of Kiel’s most significant partner in this sector.
This year the PORT OF KIEL will begin the construction of the first onshore power supply system for shipping in the Kiel Fiord’s inner Stadthafen. An invitation to tender for the project is currently being drawn up and an agreement on funding is expected from the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. “We will create the technical conditions for the ships of Color Line to be supplied with power during the time they are berthed in Kiel”, said Dirk Claus. The facility will require an investment of about a million Euros and will be ready for operation at the start of 2019.
In the Ostuferhafen the PORT OF KIEL will undertake the partial demolition of the former GAG-silo. “Against a background of growing Baltic traffic and additional utilisation now of the Ostuferhafen for cruise shipping, we will adapt the port access situation in this part of the port and significantly expand waiting areas.” The project will begin this summer and last into 2019.
Intermodal rail/ship traffic continued to increase in the year just ended, recording a rise of 9.5 %. A total of 32,104 trailers and containers were loaded onto rail wagons at the rail terminals on Schwedenkai and in the Ostuferhafen – passing the 30,000 mark for the first time. The biggest growth was recorded on the trains operated by Kombiverkehr KG between Kiel and Verona followed by those on the Kiel-Trieste route operated by TX Logistik. “Once again we succeeded in switching a significant part of ferry traffic handling growth from the roads to environmentally friendly rail. In doing so we are making a contribution to sustainability in hinterland port transport”, said Dirk Claus.
In order to further improve the efficiency of intermodal transport, two expansion measures are planned in Kiel. The first is the upgrading of the Kiel-Meimersdorf Marshalling to a point where it can accept goods trains of 740 metres in length as part of the Government’s priority Seaport Hinterland Traffic II programme. The second is the installation of a third rail track at the Schwedenkai Terminal. Contruction work on both projects will begin during 2018, so that they they can be completed in the coming year.
Last year Kiel was visited on 143 separate occasions (147 in 2016) by 29 different cruise ships with a total gross tonnage of more than 10 million – an increase of 7.5 % over the previous year. For the first time ever more than half a million travellers boarded or left cruise ships in 2017 – 513,500 to be exact, an increase of 6 %. That makes last year Kiel’s most successful cruise shipping year ever. “This year” said Dirk Claus, “We want to again surpass the already outstanding results in the cruise shipping sector”. To date 168 visits to Kiel by 32 different cruise ships have been registered. Total gross tonnage will increase to 11.4 million and the number of passengers could reach 600,000. The season begins on April 6th with the arrival of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship “Boudicca”.
The most frequent visitors this year will be the ships of AIDA/Costa, TUI Cruises and MSC, with AIDA calling at the port no fewer than 63 times with five ships. The biggest cruise ship this season will be the “MSC Preziosa” of 139,000 GT, which can be seen for the first time in the Kiel Fiord on April 28th. The highlights of the season will be the presentation of TUI Cruises’ latest ship the “Mein Schiff 1” on April 27th and the maiden visits of seven further ships. Among them is Cunard Line’s “Queen Victoria”, which will tie up at the Ostseekai on July 17th. Dirk Claus said “I am very pleased that we have been able to add two new customers this year – the U.S. shipping company Viking Ocean Cruises and the Spanish shipping company Pullmantur Cruises.” Fourteen visits are expected during this year’s Kieler Woche sailing regatta between the 16th and 24th of June, two of them by river cruise ships. From an operational point of view however the focus of attention will be the twelve dates on which three or even more ocean going cruise ships are expected in the port. The numerical highlight will be on August 11th when five cruise ships will be in Kiel at the same time.
“Kiel is among the leading cruise ship departure and destination ports in northern Europe”, said Dirk Claus. ”We want to consolidate this position by continuing to invest in our facilities.” In late summer work is starting on the construction of a second terminal building at the Ostseekai. With this, Kiel will create the quality capacity to accept even bigger ships with more passengers in future. Planned is a 4,000 m² two-storey building which will be of contemporary design and complement the existing structure in both form and function. It will open at the start of the 2019 season.