The Port of Hamburg: thrilling experience and economic driver

The port is the city’s landmark, its hallmark and one of its key economic drivers. It also stands for far-away places, fascination and tradition. One of these traditions is cruising. The former director of the HAPAG shipping line, Albert Ballin, was the first to offer maritime pleasure trips in 1891. Since then, the industry has grown steadily and the necessary infrastructure has developed to keep pace – particularly in Hamburg, making the city one of the most attractive destinations and locations for the cruise industry.

The cruise industry plays an increasingly important role in Hamburg’s economy. In 2009, 127,000 passengers visited Hamburg; in 2010 this rose to 246,000 – an increase of 94 per cent. In 2010, more than 100 cruise ships berthed at the terminals in the HafenCity and Altona; with the completion of the new terminal in Altona, this number is set to rise even further. The city’s businesses, port industry, politics, administration and tourism are all directly or indirectly involved in the development and success of the cruise industry in Hamburg.

The numbers show just how attractive Hamburg and its infrastructure are. The Hamburg Cruise Days, which will be taking place for the third time in 2012, are a symbol of the industry’s successful growth. “For me, the Hamburg Cruise Days 2012 are a wonderful opportunity to present our city, its businesses and its creativity”, says Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs. “Additionally, they are an event and a celebration that make the fascination of cruises and maritime travel come alive: a party for the people who live in Hamburg, for the passengers we welcome here, and for all the guests who visit our city. An event like the Hamburg Cruise Days is proof that the city is the gateway to the world, not just for commodities and goods, but also for people – both on board and on shore.”