In the first nine months of 2014, 15m tonnes of ro-ro cargo was handled by the port of Rotterdam, 8% more (+1.1m tonnes) than in the same period of 2013.
The port said the increase was due almost entirely to the growth of the British economy.
“The difference between cargo leaving Rotterdam (8.1m tonnes) and incoming ro/ro cargo (6.9 million tonnes) is smaller than one would expect from an import-focused economy like Britains, Certainly now that the British pound is also expensive in relation to the euro, therefore putting a brake on exports,” said the port in a statement.
Ro/ro transport from Rotterdam to Britain focuses very much on foodstuffs: a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, but also preserved products, frozen produce (meat, dairy products, a lot of potato products), onions and drinks (wine, beer, soft drinks). Consumer durables such as furniture and white goods, hygienic paper products (nappies, toilet paper, tissues, etc.) and car parts are also important.
With foodstuffs, the port benefits from the direct proximity of Zeeland’s agriculture and the greenhouse horticulture in the Westland and around Bleiswijk, Barendrecht and Venlo. Dutch products are also combined with European products and with exotic fruit from South America and South Africa in particular.
Four ro-ro shipping lines have their own terminals at the port. In order of (current) throughput: DFDS Seaways (Vlaardingen), Stena Line (Hoek van Holland and Europoort), Cobelfret (Botlek) and P&O North Sea Ferries. In September, Stena Line (Killingholme service) and DFDS Seaways (Immingham service) also put in extra capacity. Cobelfret doubled the capacity of its service to Leixoes in Portugal by deploying an extra ship.
P&O North Sea Ferries and Stena Line are also benefiting from the increasing exports from Poland to the UK via combined transport. In collaboration with ERS Railways, there are now five rail services a week between Poznan and the Europoort terminal for departures to England.
The shipping companies expect demand for long-distance transport by rail to increase because road haulage is becoming increasingly expensive due to rising environmental costs.