Europe’s premier container ports have recorded an encouraging start to the year with both Rotterdam and Antwerp seeing growth in throughput in the first quarter of 2018.
Rotterdam had a particularly strong quarter with a 7.3% rise in container throughput to 3.7m teu, stemming from a sharp rise in transhipment volumes originating in Asia with destinations elsewhere in Europe. Consequently, feeder tonnage rose by 15.1% to 7.3m tonnes.
“An increasing exchange is also taking place in Rotterdam between deep sea services, which enable shipping companies to offer their clients more combinations between loading and unloading ports in Asia and Europe,” noted a statement from the port authority.
However, short sea throughput fell by 7.8% to 6.9m tonnes due to reduced trade with Russia and lower volumes to the UK in January and February.
An enlarged imbalance between Asia and Europe is resulting in significant increases in empty container throughput, leading to container volume growth measured in teu being considerably higher than tonnage growth.
Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority stated: “We had an excellent start to 2019 with record throughput volumes in the first quarter.
“The quarterly figures also confirm that Rotterdam is again strengthening its position as storage and transport hub for containers and liqufied natural gas (LNG). For the whole year, we are adhering to our forecast that throughput volumes will increase slightly in 2019.”
Meanwhile, Antwerp saw container volumes by 650,000 teu, rising by 0.7% when measured in tonnage.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port Authority, said: “Our container throughput continues to grow despite the weakened economic outlook. This is good news for Port of Antwerp and consolidates our excellent position as a container cargo hub in the global logistics chain.”