Container transport | From the port to the outlets

How does the Teddy make it to America?

It is a famous German company rich in tradition – Steiff in the small town of Giengen an der Brenz in Baden-Württemberg. This is where the popular cuddly toys with the metal button in their ears come into being. Steiff Teddies are legendary. 1.4 million soft toys are produced at its main facility annually, mostly by hand – and that is not only for German children’s bedrooms. In Japan, USA, Taiwan, England and many other countries children love the bears. The Teddies journeys to toyshops throughout the world last up to three months. Since Giengen is not a port and lies a good 700 kilometres from the coast, the Teddies first have to make it to Hamburg, from where they go by sea to more than 50 countries.


This overland transport is known in the trade as ‘hinterland transport’. The Port of Hamburg’s hinterland is vast. It does not just comprise of Germany, but reaches from Scandinavia via Eastern Europe to the whole of the Alpine region. Whether Bavaria or Budapest, Copenhagen or Cologne, Saxony or St. Petersburg – They all transport their containers via the Port of Hamburg.


Around 70 percent of containers, handled in Hamburg are going to, or coming from, regions that lie further than 150 kilometres from the port. The remaining 30 percent or local share, stay in Hamburg and its extended metropolitan region. This means that the Port of Hamburg is an important transhipment centre not just for the Hanseatic City and Germany, but is also the main port for countries such as Austria, Hungary, Poland and Finland.

There are four different ways of transporting containers through the hinterland:

Feeder vessel

These are smaller containerships, heading for example from Hamburg to the Baltic region or Great Britain. The ports there are either not, or only seldom, called at by large containerships, because they either do not have the necessary handling volume, or such large vessels cannot be handled there.


One of the Port of Hamburg’s major advantages is its rail infrastructure into the German and European hinterland. No less than 2,000 rail services are on offer every week. This makes Hamburg the greatest rail port in Europe. No other port provides so many freight train connections.



The truck is the most important means of transport for containers both locally and in the Hamburg Metropolitan region. It covers the last mile to the consignee and/or collects goods from the manufacturer that are to be shipped via Hamburg.

Inland waterway vessel

The Port of Hamburg is very well integrated into the European inland waterway network via the Elbe and its side canals. Some 10,000 inland waterway craft tie up in the Port of Hamburg annually, with a throughput of around 12 million tons of cargo. Up the Elbe, the course is set for Saxony and Czechia. The Lower Saxony and Ruhr region ports are served via the Elbe side canals and the Mittellandkanal. There are also regular services to/from Berlin via inland waterway.

Modal Split in Container Hinterland Traffic 2017

Weekly Train Connections Germany

Weekly Train Connections


Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM)

Pickhuben 6

20457 Hamburg



In co-operation of

Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM),

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and

Hamburg Port Authority AöR