Freight Results 2023
(Kiel, 17th January 2024) SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG closes with a freight volume of over 7.89 million tonnes and 2.82 million passengers for 2023. With a broad-based passenger business in the ferry (1.64 million ferry passengers) and cruise sector (1.19 million cruise passengers), high freight levels on the Scandinavian routes and recovering volumes towards the Baltic region, the port of Kiel is recording good growth in both the freight (+3.1 per cent) and passenger sectors (+22 per cent) compared to the previous year.
"Last year was a successful one for the port of Kiel. It shows that we are well positioned for the future and our growth plans in both the passenger and freight sectors," says Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG. The company is satisfied with the financial results for 2023.
The Gothenburg route remains at a high freight level (total freight 2.23 million tonnes) with only slight declines compared to the previous year. Single-digit volume growth was recorded on the Oslo route (total freight 843,606 tonnes). While low double-digit volume declines were recorded on the Baltic routes in the previous year as a result of Russia's war in Ukraine, freight figures recovered slightly in 2023 and are showing a positive trend (total freight result: 2.62 million tonnes). The paper business also performed well, particularly in the second half of the year, closing slightly above the previous year's result of 2022. The handling of bulk goods, which is of particular importance to the regional construction industry due to the high demand for the ongoing construction work on the Kiel Canal, also developed promisingly.
Rail remains a challenge
Intermodal transport in Kiel continues to be heavily influenced by the high investment requirements of the nationwide rail network and the resulting consequences. "Compared to the previous year, which was already challenging for us in the intermodal sector, we are now seeing a steady worsening of the situation with rising prices and declining quality," says Claus. In 2023, a total of 21,700 units were handled in combined freight transport in Kiel. This corresponds to a decline of 25 per cent compared to the previous year (2022: 28,900 units). While there has been a sharp decline in CT traffic at the Ostuferhafen, partly due to the loss of rail-related Russian traffic, the modal split for traffic to Sweden remains above 20 per cent.
Growing popularity of cruises
In the cruise sector, the PORT OF KIEL recorded a total of 1,187,148 passengers on 214 calls last year. All major European shipping companies were represented with several vessels in the Baltic Sea port. As the home port of the new flagship of MSC Cruises, the MSC Euribia, and first calls by North American shipping companies such as Disney Cruise Line, the port of Kiel is also very popular with an international visitor base. With the arrival of the "Hanseatic nature" on 4th January and expected follow-up calls in January and February, winter cruises are also becoming increasingly important in Kiel. For this year's season, the port of Kiel is once again expecting passenger numbers around the 1 million mark with a total of 173 calls. "This high number of passengers with slightly fewer ship calls is due on the one hand to the large ship classes that are increasingly calling at Kiel in the coming season and on the other to the pleasingly high demand in cruise tourism," emphasises Claus, "for us, this is an dimension that we can handle well at our facilities and with our established processes." For the port operator, sustainable growth and the continuous further development of its own processes are particularly important. The shore-side power supply for cruise ships, which the PORT OF KIEL has been consistently promoting together with the shipping companies for several years, will also remain a key area of the cruise business. For the 2024 season, the port operator expects for the first time to supply 100 cruise calls with shore-side green electricity via the existing two plants. With an expansion of the shore-side power plant at the Ostseekai, which is scheduled to go into operation in 2025, the port will complete its shore-side power infrastructure and have sufficient supply options for ships at all major ferry and cruise berths. The port of Kiel already has one of the most extensive facilities in Europe. In 2023, almost half of all calls by cruise ships and ferries in Kiel were supplied with shore power.
Investments in the port
The PORT OF KIEL is investing in expanding and increasing the efficiency of its business facilities, particularly at the Ostuferhafen. The port's 50-hectare freight and logistics centre is the largest and highest-volume part of the port of Kiel and, with 3.46 million tonnes handled in 2023, was responsible for just under 45 percent of the total transhipment volume. As a multi-purpose terminal with 74,000m² of warehouses, six RoRo berths and a cruise berth, it is used for both cargo handling and the passenger business. "The Ostuferhafen has even more potential for us," says Claus. In the medium term, further storage and logistics space is to be created at the Ostuferhafen. To this end, the company has now acquired neighbouring areas of 6.5 hectares, which are to be developed step by step. "The demand from our customers for storage space is there. As a city port with limited potential for expansion, we need an efficient and smart space management. These projects at the Ostuferhafen are a stringent continuation of the further development of this part of the port and an important investment in the location," says Claus. With the construction of two shore power facilities with parallel supply options for up to three seagoing vessels, new RoRo ramps and the upgrading of existing sites, the highest-volume part of the port has been continuously optimised in the recent past. By 2028, over 60 million euros will be invested in this part of the port. In addition to the freight business, the port area is also becoming increasingly popular with cruise ships. ###