Release Date:
Release ID: 1204

Strong growth in throughput at the port of Rotterdam

Throughput in the port of Rotterdam has shown strong growth.

In the first quarter of this year some 98 million tonnes of goods were handled, 5.7% more than in the same period in 2006. This growth can be attributed above all to the throughput of petroleum products (+42%), containers (+8%), other liquid bulk (+6%) and roll on/roll off (+38%). Coal and other general cargo remained constant, with a fall in throughput of agricultural bulk (-8%), crude oil (-11%) and ores and scrap (-1%).

Press Release

The diversion of container ships due to the industrial action by port tugboat men cost the port about 70,000 TEU (container units of 20 feet). Nevertheless, the quarter ended with an increase in throughput of 10% to 2,544,000 TEU. The main reason for this is the accelerated growth in the volume of containers from Asia arriving at the port, following a period of more modest growth.

Due to a collision, one of the two unloading piers at the MOT oil terminal will be out of operation for some considerable time. Because of this a refinery in Flushing is using its own unloading pier. This situation will remain until mid-2008 when the new replacement pier is completed. Furthermore, major maintenance at a large refinery had a negative effect on supply: -2.7 million tonnes.

The throughput of oil products has seldom grown so fast in the last few years: an increase of 42% to 15.2 million tonnes. Due to the mild winter there was less demand for fuel oil in Russia, and at the same time the Baltic Sea remained open longer for exports. The relatively low prices then stimulated demand from Asia. These developments all came together through the hub of Rotterdam.

The mild temperatures meant lower demand for coal in Western Europe, so that throughput remained stable. In addition, stocks remained high, so that demand could still be met even while the Rhine was obstructed. The obstruction did not affect the figures for other goods either.

As well as container ships, several ships with conventional general cargo diverted to other ports during the industrial action by the port tugboat men. The strongest pressure on throughput in this segment, however, is from the falling demand for transport by lash barge of rice from the United States. This was compensated for by the increase in throughput of steel and paper from various countries on conventional vessels.

Strong growth in throughput on ferries (ro/ro) is thanks to Norfolk Line which now puts in to Vlaardingen, and the inclusion of Stena Line’s throughput figures at Hoek van Holland.

The handling of bulk chemicals and edible oils has risen strongly by 6%, certainly in view of the strong rise in the same period in 2006. Other dry bulk goods, in the form of large quantities of minerals for the chemical and metal industry (+3%), remain a good indicator of positive industrial activity in general.
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