Impact of Red Sea unrest on Rotterdam throughput expected to be slight


The recent disruptions at the Red Sea entrance are anticipated to exert additional strain on its container terminals in January 2024, Port or Rotterdam announced last week. However, the overall impact on the port’s throughput is projected to be minimal.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority foresees a decrease of approximately 1.25 million tonnes in the 2023 throughput figures, primarily due to the delays around the year-end transition. This anticipated decline is expected to positively influence the results for 2024.

In recent weeks, numerous sea-going vessels, predominantly container ships from the Middle East and South East Asia, have been rerouted to pass the Cape of Good Hope. Consequently, container ships are experiencing an extended voyage duration of eight to twelve days. Bulk carriers, which typically maintain an average speed of 24 kilometres per hour compared to the usual 33 kilometres per hour, are facing delays of eleven to eighteen days. The shipping distance between Singapore and Rotterdam through the Suez Canal is 8,288 nautical miles (15,349 km), while the route via the Cape of Good Hope spans 11,755 nautical miles (21,770 km).

The Port of Rotterdam Authority’s projections indicate a reduction of approximately 1.25 million tonnes in throughput volume for December due to these disruptions. For context: the total throughput volume at the port of Rotterdam in 2022 amounted to 467 million tonnes.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority estimates that container throughput during the final fortnight of December will witness a decline of about 65,000 TEU, equating to roughly 0.65 million tonnes.
The potential impact on liquid bulk transhipment, including oil, oil products, and palm oil, is assessed by the Port of Rotterdam Authority to be a maximum of 0.5 million tonnes. Although around 2.4 million tonnes of Rotterdam’s liquid bulk typically transit through the Suez Canal each month, not all bulk carriers have opted for rerouting.

Approximately 0.5 million tonnes of dry bulk, including commodities such as coal and iron ore, are transported through the Suez Canal to Rotterdam monthly. The Port of Rotterdam Authority anticipates a maximum impact of approximately 0.1 million tonnes on this category of cargo.