Rotterdam's 2019 flat at 469.4m tonnes, boxes up 2.1pc to 14.8m TEU

THE Port of Rotterdam's 2019 cargo throughput remained flat year on year at 469

18 February 2020 - 19:00
THE Port of Rotterdam's 2019 cargo throughput remained flat year on year at 469.4 million tonnes while container volume was up 2.1 per cent to 14.8 million TEU.

Following a good start in the first six months of 2019, growth in container transshipment was negligible during the second half of the year. Container throughput measured in tonnes grew by 2.5 per cent.

Despite EUR338.3 million (US$366.58 million) investments by the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the net result excluding taxes amounted to EUR241 million, down from EUR254.1 million in 2018.

Significant shifts were observable between the various commodities. Whereas crude oil, container, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biomass throughputs increased, coal and mineral oil product throughputs fell.

Over the past year significant progress has been made with digitisation and the energy transition, in particular through the launch of PortXchange, the proposed expansion of the heat supply network, and the agreement between the port authority and various companies to work towards the capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide.

Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein said: 'Our customers no longer just want increased throughput capacity, but demand a better, faster and, above all, smarter port. Equally crucial for the future is that industry succeeds in accelerating the energy transition so that the port of Rotterdam can make a real impact towards achieving the Dutch climate objectives.'

Total throughput of liquid bulk in 2019 of 211.2 million tonnes was the same as in 2018 with 211.8 million tonnes. Within this segment, crude oil throughput exceeded 100 million tonnes for the fifth consecutive year and increased by 3.9 per cent.

Investments in recent years have expanded the production capacity of refineries either located in Rotterdam or connected to Rotterdam, leading to an increase in the amount of crude oil refined in 2019.

The throughput of mineral oil products fell as a result of lower imports and exports of fuel oil. This downwards trend over the past few years intensified in 2019 as a result of tightened global emission regulations for shipping by the International Maritime Organisation that came into effect on January 1.

The increase in LNG throughput was mainly due to the import of a greater proportion of the gas produced around the Atlantic Ocean into Europe, instead of being exported to Asia. The increase in other liquid bulk is accounted for by the import and export of biofuels, particularly biodiesel.

Dry bulk throughput was down four per cent to 74.5 million tonnes. The drop in coal throughput amounted to 14.8 per cent. The share of coal in Dutch and German power generation has shrunk significantly as both countries are generating more power from solar, wind and gas.

Throughput of coking coal also came under pressure as a consequence of decreasing steel production in Germany. The annual iron ore and scrap throughput remained the same as in 2018. This is a good result considering the reduction in steel production in Germany. Biomass throughput rose by 62.8 per cent mainly due to the import of wood pellets for co-firing in coal-fired power plants.

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