Rotterdam container volumes dip due to Russia conflict

Container ship from Evergreen moored at the ECT container terminal in the Port of Rotterdam. September 8, 2019

Container flows at the Port of Rotterdam have dipped for the first half of the year as a result of the loss of container traffic to Russia and continued disruption to logistics networks around Europe.

The throughput of containers was down 4.4 per cent in TEU compared to the first half of 2021.

Factors behind the decline in container throughput include the loss of container traffic to and from Russia due to sanctions for its ongoing conflict with Ukraine, uncertainty associated with the continuation of trade with Russian parties, and the discontinuation of scheduled services to Russia.

The port’s container sector has also suffered as a result of ongoing disruption of container logistics.

“Two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdowns and changes in consumption patterns,” Port of Rotterdam wrote in its release.

“Container vessels were no longer able to comply with their sailing schedules, with disruptions in pre- and post-transportation as a result. To make up time, large vessels are now often cancelling calls to ports in their itineraries (-5.5 per cent calls in Rotterdam by comparison with last year), and loading and unloading more containers per call (+6.1 per cent).

“This results in peaks in activity at the terminals, which were already very busy since containers are left there for longer times on average because ship arrival times are more unreliable. As a result of these developments, shipping companies are currently using smaller ports of call for transshipment relatively more often than large ports such as Rotterdam.”

Forecasting throughput volumes for the second half of the year will be difficult, the Port of Rotterdam added.

On finances, the revenue of the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the first half of 2021 rose by €24.6 million ($25 million) compared with the first half of 2021 to €412.2 million ($418.6 million). This increase is primarily attributable to a higher number of vessels, resulting in a higher price per throughput tonne.

The Port Authority is also investing in the development of digital tools and programmes.

All inland shipping, rail and short-sea operators in Northwest Europe are now connected to the planning tool Routescanner, as are several deep-sea shipping companies. This shares sailing and driving itineraries directly on the Routescanner platform, and the platform is on its way to becoming the global, neutral location for displaying container routes.

Since the platform went live in October, 15,000 inland shipping calls have been scheduled using the Nextlogic planning tool.

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