Port of Rotterdam sees containers segment grow; decrease in bulk throughput

Port of Rotterdam sees containers segment grow; decrease in bulk throughput

In the first three quarters of 2018, total throughput in the port of Rotterdam was 0.4 percent lower than in the same period the previous year. Container volumes continued to grow at a markedly higher pace than the first nine months of 2017 – even recording a new all-time high in August. Wet and dry bulk, however, showed a decline in volume – although LNG and biomass were two positive outliers within these product segments. 

All in all, 350 million tonnes of cargo was handled in the port of Rotterdam, a decrease of 1.5 million tonnes compared to last year. The port expects to make up some of the difference in the fourth quarter, so that the throughput recorded for 2018 in its entirety will be more or less equal to that of 2017.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority said: “The underlying shift in throughput figures that was observed in preceding quarters is continuing as expected. I am happy to see that the healthy growth in the Containers segment – one of the Port Authority’s spearheads – shows no signs of slowing down. In view of the present energy transition and the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, a gradual contraction in the fossil fuels segment seems inevitable. This development creates new scope for growth in the LNG and biofuels segments – as borne out once again by this quarter’s figures.”

In 2018, container throughput also increased significantly – by 5.7 percent (in TEU) compared to the previous year. This resulted in a total volume of 10,780,204 TEU. The strongest increase was recorded in the first seven months, with August 2018 setting a new record with 136,500 tonnes.

Growth rates in the first nine months of 2018 differ from trade route to trade route: along the Asia-Europe trade lane, the volume of incoming loaded containers rose by 10 percent, while outbound volumes decreased by 7.6 percent. Overall throughput on the North American trade lane increased by almost 10 percent, and handling for the South American lane even rose by over 20 percent.

Growth rates in the short sea segments were more modest. This slackening was particularly apparent in the short sea services to the UK – as a result of the slowing down of the British economy.

Liquid bulk throughput fell by over 1 percent. Crude oil in particular was affected by lower refinery production levels in Germany and Belgium, as well as downtime for maintenance at refining facilities in Rotterdam.

The throughput of mineral oil products handled in Rotterdam in the first nine months of 2018 fell by 1.5% compared to last year. This could mainly be attributed to the decreased handling of fuel oil, which in turn was a result of reduced trading with Singapore. In contrast, other oil products like diesel and petrol actually showed an increase in the same period.

The volume of LNG handled in Rotterdam continued to grow at an impressive pace. September 2018 was a record month, with a total throughput of close to 0.8 million tonnes. This increase was mainly the outcome of the on-going intake of LNG transported by small carrier vessels to Rotterdam from the Yamal peninsula in Russia. In Rotterdam, these shipments are transferred to large LNG carriers and forwarded to other destinations around the world.

For more information visit: www.portofrotterdam.com

5th November 2018