Container throughput at the Port of Rotterdam reached a high of 14.5m teu in 2018, a growth of 5.7% year-on-year, although crude oil, mineral oil products and agribulk fell.
Growth in the container sector was led by full import containers and transhipment, which saw a 4.5% increase in tonnage, and led to a gain in market share in the Hamburg-Le Havre range.
Container exports did not develop as strongly, partly due to Chinese import restrictions on waste flows while the shortsea segment suffered from slowdowns in the British and Russian economies.
Roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) transhipment ended the year slightly up as the British roro trade showed less growth which was likely due to the effects of Brexit uncertainty on the British economy, according to the port.
Liquid bulk recorded lower throughput volumes in all subcategories than last year, with the exception of liquefied natural gas (LNG), although throughput did exceed 100m tonnes for the fourth year in a row.
Despite the market being under pressure, the dry bulk segment at the port showed only a slight decrease of 3%.
According to the Port of Rotterdam, its consolidation strategy used in the coal subcategory “appears to be working well” as throughput rose by 2.3%.
Thermal coal remained at the same level as 2017, however the throughput of coke coal rose due to the port’s success in attracting cargo packages for Germany.
Throughput of iron ore fell because of the renovation of a blast furnace and stagnating demand from the steel industry, among other reasons while agribulk fell partly because of the shift of cargo packages to Amsterdam.
The Port of Rotterdam also saw a high level of investment in 2018 as gross investments rose 91% to €408.1m (US$460m), the highest amount since the construction of Massvlakte 2.
The largest part of this amount was used to further improve the logistical accessibility of the port: constructing the Container Exchange Route on the Maasvlakte, the Princess Amalia viaduct and relocating the port railway via the Theemsweg route.
The Port Authority’s internationalisation strategy was boosted by the acquisition of a minority stake in the Brazilian port of Pecém.