Netherlands' Port of Rotterdam handles 213 million tonnes of cargo in H1, a 14.8% year-over-year increase

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands , August 16, 2010 (press release) – In the first half of 2010, 213 million tonnes of cargo were handled, 14.8% up on the same period of 2009. Outgoing trade rose by 15% to 62 million tonnes, incoming by 14.7% to 150 million tonnes. The handling of bulk cargo increased by 14.3%, to 146 million tonnes. General cargo was 15.7% up, at 66 million tonnes. Agribulk and coal throughput were both down, by 20% and 1% respectively. All other types of cargo were in the black: ores and scrap (+150%), other dry bulk (+36%), crude oil (+3%), mineral oil product (+8%), other liquid bulk (+7%), roll on/roll off (+2%), other general cargo (+21%) and containers (+18%). In numbers, container throughput rose by 18% to 5.4 million TEU (20-foot units).

Hans Smits, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO: “The growth sectors of the past six months were containers and iron ore, and also mineral oil products in the first quarter. Rotterdam is benefiting greatly from the upturn in world trade, especially that involving China and Germany. Total throughput is now more or less back to the 2008 level. In the second half of the year, the growth in throughput tends to decline. For the year as a whole, the increase is expected to be in the region of 10%. It will be exciting to see whether or not the port can make up for the losses of 2009 in just one year”.

Dry bulk
The total for dry bulk increased by 45% to 42 million tonnes. Agribulk (grains, seeds, animal feeds) throughput continues to fall, by almost 1 million tonnes, due to the use of European raw materials, such as rapeseed, rather than those from overseas. Demand for agribulk / foodstuffs is affected more by harvests than the economic situation.

Almost the same quantity of coal (-1% to 12 million tonnes) was handled. There was a very positive trend in the transshipment of coke coal for the steel industry. The quantity of coal imported for energy production was lower than expected, but it did start to rally in the second quarter. The forecast for the second half of the year is positive: over 2010 as a whole, the German coal sector expects to import almost 6% more. The transshipment of ores and scrap exploded, up by 150% to almost 21 million tonnes. Thyssen-Krupp, Rotterdam’s main ore customer, is running at almost full capacity again. The sharp increase in imports in Belgium, Luxembourg and France is also an indication of good business at Arcelor.
The handling of other dry bulk (mainly minerals for the production of glass, paper, steel and chemicals) rose by 36%, to close on 8 million tonnes. Demand for industrial raw materials in the EU has increased rapidly and strongly. The German automotive and machine industry acts as a boost here. Demand from the construction sector is lagging behind.

Liquid bulk

The total for liquid bulk was 5% higher, at 104 million tonnes. Imports of crude oil rose by almost 3% to 50 million tonnes. This is a better result than could have been expected on the basis of the moderate refining margin for Northwest Europe.
The throughput of mineral oil products increased by 8%, to over 38 million tonnes. In the first three months, a lot of (trading) products from storage tankers were still brought ashore. This effect clearly declined in the second quarter. There was no great difference between short and longer term prices. This weak contango is also expected to dominate the rest of the year. Thanks to the good weather, there were more ship to ship transfers in the North Sea, rather than the Caland Canal.
Other liquid bulk (chemical basic products, vegetable oils and fats, fruit juices) was 7% up, to almost 16 million tonnes, due to the recovery in chemical production. The handling of vegetable oils remained stable. New tank capacity in the Europoort boosted imports of bioethanol.

General cargo

The general cargo sector enjoyed a good first six months, with an increase in throughput of 9 million tonnes (+16%) to 66 million. Both incoming and outgoing containers rose by double figures. In terms of weight, throughput was up by 18% to 55 million tonnes, in numbers also by 18%, to 4.6 million TEU (+ 812,000). The tempo of the first quarter slowed down slightly, but the driving forces remained Asia, in particular China, and Europe, especially the Baltic area. There is also a substantial increase in traffic with Great Britain, due to the tentative recovery of the British economy. Roll-on / roll-off transport is also benefiting from this, up 2% at 8 million tonnes. In the second half of the year, increased capacity at Stena Line could have a positive impact on throughput. There was a sharp increase in the handling of other general cargo, up 21% (+0.6 million tonnes). The sector did better than elsewhere. Steel throughput, which accounts for almost half of general cargo throughput, did particularly well. More information/figures on RoRo and breakbulk click here.

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