Port of Rotterdam Records Strong Growth

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Throughput figures for the port of Rotterdam continue to show strong growth. In the first 9 months of this year, 277 million tonnes of cargo were handled, 4% more than in the same period of 2004. Growth is above the prognosis for this year as well as the expectations for the longer term, of 2–3 %. Container handling is doing even better with +14%.

In weight, container handling went up from 61 million tonnes in 2004 to 68 million tonnes (+12%).Expressed in TEU (container units of 20 foot), this equals 6.9 million, a plus of 14% or 800,000 TEU. The relative large difference between TEU’s and tonnes, indicates that the number of empties rose with over twenty percent. The driving force behind both total growth and growing imbalance is the flourishing container traffic with especially Russia (much imports) and Asia (much exports).

Throughput of refined products is pushed up with a quarter, to 31 million tonnes. This is caused by the combination of Russian exports of heavy- and the US import of lighter products. In the category other liquid bulk, chemicals as well as edible oils as well as fruit juices are performing very well: +5% to 20 million tons. The commercial director of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Mr. Ger van Tongeren: “I expect ongoing future growth in the tank storage sector because the investments in are large and undertaken by almost any company.”(*)

Throughput of agribulk in the third quarter equalized the loss in the first half year and is now stable thanks to the exports of European grains. The steel industry used more of its stockpile of ores and consequently incoming iron ore declined with 5% to 31 million tons. Volumes of crude oil went down 3% (2 million tons) to just a little under the maximum refining capacity in the eleven refineries supplied via Rotterdam.

Thanks to the growth of coal and other dry bulk (minerals etc.) with respectively 6% and 10%, total throughput of dry bulk remained constant: 68 million tons.

Roro transport (-9%) will in the last quarter probably not be able to compensate for the transformation of a service into a container service, earlier this year. In other general cargo, 6% to 6 million tons, some of the loss of the first half year was regained.

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