Spotlight on Hamburg

Image of Dr. Andreas Schröter

The largest port in country, Hamburg is considered Germany’s “gateway to the world”. Find out how Customs Support empowers trade at this essential location in this article.

The Port of Hamburg

The Port of Hamburg is situated on the River Elbe and is approximately 110km upstream from the North Sea. Despite being relatively far inland, Hamburg is the biggest port in Germany, the third busiest in Europe after Rotterdam and Antwerp, and is the 15th  largest port globally.

Hamburg Port has nearly 300 berths spanning 43 kilometers of quay. Alongside the enormous quayside are four container terminals, a rail terminal which receives over 2,300 freight trains per week, and approximately 50 facilities that manage bulk cargoes.

In 2022, over 8000 ships were processed through the Port of Hamburg – carrying 119.9 million tonnes and 8.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) of cargo.

The history of the Port of Hamburg

The Port of Hamburg was officially established in 1189, but has been pictured in drawings dating from the 9th century – making it nearly as old as the city itself.

Like Venlo, the port benefited from being a part of the Hanseatic Alliance – a collection of trade guilds that had a monopoly on trade across the Baltic Sea and Northern Europe from the 13th to the 17th centuries.

When Transatlantic trade grew, Hamburg became Central Europe’s key hub for this trade and grew to Germany’s largest port. In 1888, it gained freeport status, which accelerated its growth into the beginning of the 20th century.

Throughout both world wars, shipyards in Hamburg were targeted and several fleets were destroyed. More than 90% of quayside sheds were unusable by the end of WWII. Then, Hamburg lost a lot of its trading connections during its partition until 1990.

Upon integrating with Europe more over the last three decades, the Port of Hamburg has grown in strength to become the powerhouse it is today.

Customs Support Hamburg

With Hamburg being such a key area for trade in Germany and Europe, it makes sense for Customs Support to have a presence in the area.

Following the integration of some acquisitions, Customs Support opened one office in Hamburg, with a team of approximately 35 specialists overseeing import clearances, export declarations, and transit documents for a wide variety of goods moving through the area.

Did you know?

  • There are about 7,300 logistics companies in the city of Hamburg.
  • The Speicherstadt warehouse complex, built in the 1880s when the Port gained freeport status, is the world’s largest collection of warehouses at 260,000 square meters. The site is Germany’s 40th UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • No German maritime authority existed in the late 14th century, which caused Hamburg to be relentlessly targeted by pirates. Ships leaving Hamburg used to arrive and leave in convoy to protect each other.

Need Customs Support in Hamburg?

Working with our colleagues across Germany and 12 other European countries, Customs Support Hamburg is here to empower your global trade. Contact us for more information.