Port of Rotterdam handles 5.4% more goods

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Cargo ship dockingThe handling of goods in the port of Rotterdam has increased by 5.4% in the first nine months of the year.

Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: “The growth is almost entirely due to the increase in the handling of crude oil and oil products. Most other types of goods were handled in similar quantities as last year. Since oil represents about half of the throughput, the port achieved a good growth rate.

“Dry bulk is usually a fairly stable industry, but currently the handling of iron ore and agri bulk is lagging behind somewhat.  In the container sector, growth opportunities are currently still limited because the new terminals are not yet operating at full speed.”

The throughput of crude oil increased by 8.5% and the main reason for this is the low price of oil, which ensures good margins as a result of which refineries are processing more crude oil than last year. This applies not only to the five refineries in Rotterdam and the five in Germany, Antwerp and Vlissingen, which are supplied from Rotterdam, but also those in Russia. The latter especially produces a relatively large amount of fuel oil which is shipped to the Far East via Rotterdam. This is the main reason that the handling of oil products increased by 22.1%.

The throughput of LNG almost doubled. As gas prices in Asia have dropped significantly and are now comparable to those in Europe, the supply in Rotterdam is increasing. In absolute terms, the handling volume of LNG is still limited. Other liquid bulk decreased by 1.2%. In total, 12.5% more liquid bulk was handled.

Dry bulk shows a slight downward trend across the board. The handling of agri bulk fell by 11.7% since the harvests in Europe are good this year and therefore less is imported. The throughput of coal remained at the same level, that of ores and scrap fell by 2%. The reason is that German steel production has not really increased yet and Europe imports steel from China via southern European ports. In total, 3.1% less dry bulk was handled.

The handling of containers in the first nine months was 1% higher than last year. In tonnes, the handled volume was virtually the same (+0.2%). This is caused by lower Chinese exports, slowing of the growth of emerging economies such as Brazil, and the deterioration of the Russian economy which reduces the throughput of containers (short sea and feeder traffic) to this region. Moreover, the new terminals on Maasvlakte 2 are not yet operating at sufficient speed to handle large volumes. The container terminals on Maasvlakte 1 have a high occupancy rate. This is currently limiting the growth.

Within the container sector, it is mainly the (short sea) traffic to the British Isles that increases due to a strong UK economy. This, combined with strikes by ferry companies in Calais and problems with the Channel Tunnel, is also the reason that roll on/roll off traffic across the North Sea has increased by 11.4%. Other break bulk decreased by 7.6%. Combined, breakbulk (roll on/roll off and other breakbulk) increased by a total of 6.9%.