A total of 6.92 million tons of cargo has been transhipped in the seaport of Kiel in 2020, representing only a slight decrease of 1.2 % compared to the previous-year period. In contrast to a decrease of volumes in the Scheerhafen and at the Norwegenkai Terminal, there has been growth in the Ostuferhafen and at the Schwedenkai.
“The economic impact of the Covid pandemic has posed major challenges to the maritime industry," said Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director at the PORT OF KIEL. "In this situation the port of Kiel has successfully maintained its transhipment results and has contributed to the stabilization of supply chains.”
The ferry traffic to Sweden and Lithuania has proven to be particularly solid and has even seen a slight increase in transported cargo volumes. On the other side, Kiel registers a drop in the sea tourism sector. Due to Corona, only about 517,500 passengers boarded or left a ship at the different terminals, which is a decrease of 78 %.
The PORT OF KIEL has invested about 17 million Euros in the port facilities last year and could thus complete important projects. In late summer, the new port apron of the Ostuferhafen was inaugurated and the new terminal at Ostseekai Berth 28 was taken into operation.
“We are now in the advantageous position that the big mid-term investments have been completed,” said Claus. The largest individual measure in 2020 was the construction of the shore-power supply plant at the Ostseekai with an investment volume of 15 million Euros. The plant can also supply eco-power produced in a 100% emission-free way to the Stena Line ferries at the Schwedenkai. “All the city terminals have an on-shore power connection now," said Claus. "So we can cover 50% of the energy demand of the ships visiting Kiel in an emission-free way and thanks to the reduction of the EEG apportionment we can do so at competitive prices.”
The focus of the PORT OF KIEL will now be increasingly directed again to the Ostuferhafen, where also a shore-power connection and another RoRo-ramp are planned to be installed.
In the ferry transport sector, which accounts for 85% of the port’s transhipment volumes, a total of nearly 240,000 load units was transhipped last year. This is a growth of 2.3%, whereby the number of unaccompanied trailers has increased above average. Consequently, a record result in the eco-friendly hinterland rail transport sector could be achieved. For the first time, 32,957 load units (+38.2%) have been loaded onto waggons in Kiel. The establishment of the block train connection from and to Bettembourg (Luxembourg) operating three times a week has made a major contribution to this result.
Furthermore, the digitisation in the PORT OF KIEL has been pushed significantly in 2020. For example, the Automated Gate Information & Operation System (Agios) has been introduced in the Ostuferhafen, a cross-customer solution for the ferry services and the forest product terminal. Agios optimises and accelerates the processes at the gate by automatically matching electronic bookings with the registration plates of incoming trucks. When the data are complete, the previously required Counter Check-in for truck drivers can be omitted.
In passenger transport the PORT OF KIEL registers an unprecedented drop for 2020 affecting both the ferry traffic and the cruise sectors. In the course of the Corona pandemic with travel warnings, quarantine regulations and even border closures, 69.6% fewer passengers were transported. The Color Line shipping company was even forced to take the vessels “Color Magic” and the “Color Fantasy” completely out of service at times. In the cruise sector, there had been 198 registrations for cruise visits for the Season 2020.
29 voyages actually took place, with no incidents at all. Therefore, comprehensive handling and hygienic concepts had been developed together with the shipping companies. These concepts as well as the Covid tests, which are also performed in the terminals, guarantee safe processes. For this year’s season, supposed to begin in May, the PORT OF KIEL expects a normalization of the situation. Dirk Claus: “I assume that we can resume operations again under the condition that these strict hygienic concepts remain implemented and that the vaccination campaigns currently underway will become better established. I am confident that the season can take place according to plan.”