2020 - a horrible year with positive prospects


Like a lot of other companies, the Port of Hirtshals has been through a year which to a great extent has been affected by the restrictions that governments around the world have been forced to impose due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even though some of the port's important areas of business have been under pressure in 2020, two of the main business segments have moved in a positive direction.

Despite COVID-19's resistance, the Port of Hirtshals experienced a growth in the total cargo volume of 3.1% in 2020. This corresponds to almost 100,000 tonnes more goods being transported across the quay in Hirtshals compared to 2019. Therefore, the year 2020 ends with a total cargo volume of 1.9m tonnes.

The ro/ro vessel Hvitanes arrives with cargo at the Port of Hirtshals every week
The ro/ro vessel Hvitanes arrives with cargo at the Port of Hirtshals every week

-The positive development in the volume of cargo, together with initiatives that have already been launched by the port, sharpens our expectations that the Port of Hirtshals can reach a total cargo volume of over 2m tonnes for the first time in 2021, states Anker Laden-Andersen, chairman of the board at the Port of Hirtshals expectantly.

The Port of Hirtshals has also observed a positive progress in cargo traffic, where the number of lorries and trailers has increased by 2.1% from 2019 to 2020. Thereby, a total of 144.000 units has crossed the port in 2020. This result has been achieved even though the shipping companies at the port have simultaneously reduced their ferry capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lot of trailers can be found on Nordsøterminalen at the Port of Hirtshals
A lot of trailers can be found on Nordsøterminalen at the Port of Hirtshals

- The cargo traffic in 2020 clearly shows, that the Port of Hirtshals has high potential for ro/ro transport solutions, as the volumes increase as soon as there is room for more lorries on the ferries. We thus see the 1:1 evidence that distribution of cargo in Norway with Hirtshals as hub is an attractive solution. We will, of course, devote resources to supporting this development, now that the evidence is available, says Laden-Andersen.

In the fish segment, the Port of Hirtshals also notes a positive development in 2020. Here, the total inflow of fish including salmon reached a total of DKK 1.48bn which is a progress of 0,7% compared to the record year of 2019. The growth is achieved at the same time as the value of each landing has decreased due to the price pressure in the closed Southern European market, where the fish from Hirtshals is mainly sold.

As a consequence of the border closures in the Nordic countries and in Europe, the Port of Hirtshals has observed a drop in the car and passenger traffic over the port of 59.1% from 2019 to 2020. It is however expected that the traffic of travellers, tourists and businesspeople will rise as the European population get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

- The car and passenger traffic together with the development in the markets for the high-quality fish from Hirtshals have, of course, left clear traces on the Port of Hirtshals in 2020, and this will also be the case in 2021 - and perhaps even in 2022. We cannot ignore this fact, but we will continue to focus on the future development of the port, the chairman of the board concludes.