AMSTERDAM: The largest seaport of Rotterdam handled 445 million tones shipments last year, 1% more than 2013 figures.
Crude oil (+2%) is slightly up compared to the 2013 level, but mineral oil products (-11%) and other liquid bulk (-9%), mainly feedstocks for the chemical industry, are lagging behind., which is attributed to the difficult situation of the chemical industry in Europe, lower (re-)exports of heavy fuel oil to the Far East, the limited economic growth in Europe and increasing competition with new terminals in other ports. LNG throughput is still limited in scale, but has more than doubled (+137%).
Within the dry bulk sector, less iron ore and scrap were handled (-5%) due to maintenance work on a large blast furnace in Germany and a fall in the transhipment volume.
Container traffic increased (+4%), despite congestion on the Maasvlakte this summer, as a result of which a number of ships were diverted to Antwerp. During the first two months of the year, container throughput lagged behind. Between March and the end of September, however, throughput was on average 6% higher than last year. The tentative economic recovery is the main reason for these positive figures.
There was a slight fall in the handling of cargo from the Far East in the third quarter, partly due to the diversion of ships to Antwerp, whilst cargo to and from North and South America increased. In 2013, Rotterdam lost feeder cargo destined for the Baltic to Hamburg. This has now largely returned to Rotterdam, due to congestion in Hamburg, but also because shipping companies are switching cargo to Rotterdam in anticipation of the opening of terminals on Maasvlakte 2. The strong British economy is largely responsible for the growth in short sea traffic.
“With the exception of a few sectors, the port is doing pretty well. Particularly striking is the 4% increase in containers. After March, even as high as an average 6%. This makes it even clearer that we badly need the new terminals on Maasvlakte 2 if we are to achieve further growth.
The increase of no less than 31% in the handling of other mixed cargo is also noteworthy. However mineral oil products in particular, at -11%, are considerably down on last year,” Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO said.