In the first quarter of 2018, 1.2% less freight passed through the Port of Rotterdam than in the same period last year. In total, 117.8 million tonnes were handled against 119.3 million tonnes in the same period in 2017.
The fall mainly concerned the throughput of coal, iron ore, scrap and crude oil. In contrast, the growth in container throughput continued to increase significantly (+6.1% in TEU, +4.6% in tonnes). The throughput of mineral oil products increased, particularly distribution. The throughput of biomass and LNG increased spectacularly.
Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority: “The continued growth in container throughput is a confirmation that Rotterdam is taking an increasingly important position in the maritime connection networks of large shipping company alliances. We are seeing a somewhat more measured growth after the significant growth last year, and this is entirely in accordance with our expectations.”
In total, liquid bulk throughput remained almost constant with a slight growth of 0.5% to 55.9 million tonnes. Within this segment, less crude oil (-4.5%; 25.4 million tonnes) was transported than in the first quarter of last year. This difference is mainly a result of an exceptionally high throughput last year.
Within the dry bulk segment, iron ore & scrap and coal are the main commodities. The throughput of both fell slightly: the throughput of iron ore & scrap by 9.3% to 7.1 million tonnes, and the throughput of coal by 19.0% to 6.5 million tonnes.
Container throughput increased 4.6% by weight to 35.9 million tonnes and 6.1% by volume to 3.5 million TEU (the standard unit for containers). This growth is a continuation of the significant increase realised last year and is mainly a consequence of increased throughput performance of the port’s large container terminals.
This is also necessary as the shipping companies that operate in Rotterdam in three large alliances view Rotterdam as an important hub in their networks, which means an increased concentration of cargo throughput in Rotterdam. This resulted in feeder volumes continuing to increase significantly by 7.5% to 0.6 million TEU.
The total throughput in the breakbulk segment (Roll-on/roll-off and other cargo) fell by 4.7% to 7.2 million tonnes. RoRo traffic increased slightly by 0.8% to 5.8 million tonnes compared with the first quarter of last year, partly because of an expansion of RoRo vessel handling capacity at one of the Rotterdam terminals.