Rotterdam’s Box Volumes Continue Growing

Posted by Richard Strauss

Source: Maritime News

Container volumes at the Dutch port of Rotterdam continued rising with an increase of 10.1 percent during the first nine months of 2017.

The port’s container throughput for the nine-month period was at a total of 10.2 million units (TEU), compared to 9.3 million TEU handled in the same period in 2016.

The port attributed the increase to a number of factors, including solid autonomous growth in Europe combined with Rotterdam’s favourable position within the new sailing schedules recently adopted by the major alliances, increased productivity and throughput volumes at the Maasvlakte 2 terminals and Rotterdam’s strengthened appeal as a transhipment port in connection with increased vessel sizes and relay/feeder options to/from other European ports.

For the first nine months, Rotterdam’s total throughput increased by 2 percent. In addition to containers, the key contributors to this overall growth were the agribulk and breakbulk segments, while liquid bulk like mineral oil products recorded a drop in the throughput.

A total of 351.5 million tonnes was handled in the period until the end of September, up from 344.6 million tonnes seen in the same period a year earlier.

“Thanks in part to the 10-percent increase in container throughput volumes, this has proven a fine quarter for our port statistics. Still, this growth is offset by lower throughput volumes in various other segments,” Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said.

“For example, the volume of coal handled in our port has fallen in comparison with 2016 due to the closure of two coal-fired power plants in Rotterdam and the increased production of renewable energy. Likewise, the throughput of fuel oil in the third quarter was also lower than last year’s figures,” Castelein added.

The Dutch Port of Rotterdam witnessed an increase of 3.9% in throughput during the first six months of 2017, mainly driven by the container segment.

The volume of containers handled increased by 9.3% in TEU terms and by 10.4% in tonnes, thereby making it the determining factor for the overall growth in throughput.

Eight out of ten market segments at the port witnessed an increase in volumes, while the only falls were recorded in the volumes of mineral oil products and other liquid bulk.

During the nine months ended September 30, port of Rotterdam’s volume of liquid bulk decreased by 4.2 percent, to a total of 161.5 million tonnes. Even though higher production rates in the refining sector resulted in 3.5 percent more crude oil being handled in Rotterdam’s port area, the third quarter saw a further decrease in the mineral oil products segment as a whole. This was primarily caused by a drop in the import and export of fuel oil.

The throughput of dry bulk for the nine-month period rose by 1.4 percent to 61.1 million tonnes. The port saw a strong increase in the agribulk category of 14.7 percent compared to last year.

Rotterdam witnessed a further growth of 6.6 percent in roll on/roll off (ro/ro) volumes in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the previous year, to a total of 17.9 million tonnes. This growth was caused by increased cargo flows to the dominant market in this category, the United Kingdom, as well as increased traffic to new markets like Portugal, Iceland and the Scandinavian countries.

The port expects its total throughput in 2017 to be 1 to 2 percent higher than that recorded for 2016.