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12,3% Growth in container throughput in Rotterdam

Rotterdam - Particularly strong growth in container throughput of 12.3% (in tonnes) was the main driver of growth in the port of Rotterdam throughout 2017. Total cargo throughput rose by 1.3%, with the port returning to the growth trend seen before 2016. Total tonnage increased from 461 million to 467 million. The increase in containers was offset by a fall in dry bulk of 2.6% and in wet bulk of 4.1%. Break bulk (Roll on/Roll off and other break bulk) increased by 7%.

Container throughput rose spectacularly by 10.9% to 13.7 million TEU (twenty feet equivalent unit, the unit for containers) and, by weight, by 12.3% to 142.6 million tonnes. In the second half of the year, tonnage throughput was 14.1% higher (12.4% in TEU) than in the same period in the preceding year. There has been steady growth over the past five half years. 

Rotterdam's share of the container market is now at its highest level since 2000 at 31% (2017 through to Q3). Most growth was seen for Asia and South America and traffic from North America. Feeder volume in particular grew strongly (21% in TEU) for all European shipping areas and in particular Scandinavia and the Baltic states. Growth in short sea amounted to 10.2% (TEU), with a particularly sharp increase in throughput for services to and from the Mediterranean and ScanBaltic. 

The hinterland volume also rose (6.3%). This growth and the increase in feeder volume confirm the strong position of Rotterdam in the networks of container shipping companies and major alliances. Throughput on Maasvlakte 2 rose sharply and volume also increased at almost all other terminals.

The throughput of loaded containers increased by 12.1% (TEU), outstripping the rise in empty containers (6.1%).

Dry bulk
Throughput of ores and scrap remained stable at over 31 million tonnes, although there was a slight shift in the tonnages, with scrap increasing and ore falling off slightly. Coal volume fell by 9.5% because eight coal-fired plants (two in the Netherlands and six in Germany) were closed and the other power stations produced less. The throughput of coke, which is needed for steel production, declined slightly. The Agribulk sector grew by 6.6% to 11.1 million tonnes. The amount of other dry and biomass goods tailed off slightly by 0.6% to 12.1 million tonnes. An increase in the throughput of biomass to Belgium was offset by a decline in other dry bulk. All in all, dry bulk fell 2.6% to 80.2 million tonnes.

RoRo and Other Break Bulk
Roll on/Roll off benefited from the use of larger vessels, the expansion of the number of services and growth in existing services. The result was a growth of 6.2%. Other break bulk rose by 9.8% as a result of increased exports, the output of monopiles for offshore wind projects, higher input of steel and an increase in aluminium throughput.

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Gerard Gommers