The Port of Rotterdam saw cargo throughput remain relatively stable during the first quarter of 2014.
Europe’s largest port handled 109 million tonnes during the first three months of 2014, down 0.2 percent when compared to the corresponding period last year.
“The falling tendency of the second half of 2013 continued initially, but thanks to a strong month in March, the throughput in the first three months nonetheless stayed almost the same,” explained Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO, Allard Castelein.
“For the whole of 2014, I am counting on slight growth, but my attention will mainly be on structural developments that are putting the Port of Rotterdam under pressure.
“These include the over-capacity in the European refinery sector, the rapid rise in American shale gas that is putting investments in the European chemicals sector under pressure, and changes in the containers sector.”
“Shipowners are building ever-larger container ships and starting to cooperate intensively to fill them optimally.”
“At the same time, extra terminal capacity has been built in many Northwest European ports while economic growth has lagged behind. Together with customers and stakeholders, we are working to rise to these challenges.”
During the first quarter of 2014, container volumes rose by one percent to 30 million tonnes, or 2.9 million TEU. In a statement, the Dutch port credited this small growth to increases in volumes from both deep-sea (supply from/shipment to Asia and North America) and the short-sea market.
Meanwhile, Ro-Ro traffic for its part jumped nine percent (400,000 tonnes) thanks largely to the improving British economy, while the throughput of other mixed cargo (steel, non-ferrous metals, paper, fruit, project cargo) rose by nine percent to over 100,000 tonnes.
The port also recorded a positive result for iron ore and scrap (+5%), coal (+15%), agribulk (+69%), other dry bulk cargo (+13%).
The total throughput of dry bulk cargo increased 15 percent to 23 million tonnes.
Crude oil volumes fell by two percent during the first quarter, as did mineral oil products and other liquid bulk cargo, which both fell by 14 percent.