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Port of Rotterdam records strong volumes in Q1

The port attributed the results primarily to throughput growth in oil products, LNG and container cargo.

   The Port of Rotterdam reported a 7.2 percent increase in overall throughput for the first quarter of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. The port attributed the growth in volumes primarily to increases ocean freight and liquid bulk cargo.
   Rotterdam handled 3.1 million TEUs in Q1 2015, 7.6 percent more than in Q1 2014 despite some terminals experiencing congestion due to the heavy workload. The port said in a statement, “The growth can be explained by the economic recovery in Europe and the relocation of transhipment cargo from other ports to Rotterdam.”
   The port also noted the increase in vessel size and scale in the ocean shipping industry in general. “In the last quarter the record for ‘largest container vessel in the world’ was broken twice, and it has now been announced that MOL (four 20,150 TEU vessels on order), CMA CGM (three 20,600 TEU vessels) and OOCL (six 21,100 vessels) will set new records.
   “Rotterdam does well from this development because it is much more easily accessible for such ships than rival ports. That is translated, among other things, into a 70% increase in the number of second calls in the first quarter to 51. Ships sail between Asia and Europe on a fixed schedule and are increasingly using Rotterdam as the first and last port of call,” the port added.
   Breakbulk throughput at Rotterdam increased 4.4 percent to 6.4 million ton for the quarter, while roll-on/roll-off traffic grew 10.6 percent. Other general cargo like steel, non-ferrous metals, paper, fruit and project cargo fell 17.1 percent compared to the previous year.
   Dry bulk volumes, particularly ores and coal, decreased 5.1 percent year-over-year to 21.9 million tons for the quarter. Ore imports were down 6.8 percent down as a result of a decrease in imports for the German steel industry, while coal throughput was down 1.1 percent thanks to a relatively mild winter.
   Rotterdam’s agribulk throughput fell 12.4 percent “due to the good harvests in Europe and the weak euro, which made imports by sea less necessary and attractive,” said the port.
   Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein said of the results, “The port had a very strong first quarter. The positive trend in the handling of mineral oil products and LNG is striking. After declining last year, oil products are now experiencing a strong recovery. LNG throughput is even growing in triple figures and is really getting into its stride.
   “Container throughput is also increasing sharply,” added Castelein. “Last year Rotterdam grew faster in this sector than rival ports. An increase of almost 8% combined with two new terminals on Maasvlakte 2 is generating a lot of confidence in the development of this sector in the coming years.”