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Volumes up at Port of Rotterdam

Volumes up at Port of Rotterdam
Iron ore, coal and container handling all increased

Container volumes increased by 9% at the Port of Rotterdam in the first half of the year, while the port partially bounced back from last year’s corona dip with a 6% rise in tonnage across all cargo segments.

With regards to containers, more empty boxes were handled, particularly in the first quarter, than in the same period in 2020. There has also been a downward trend for some time now in the average weight of full containers.

The rise in demand for consumer goods, in combination with disruptions in the logistical chains including the Suez Canal blockage, the corona outbreak and lockdown in the port of Shenzhen caused global delays and high freight tariffs, although container handling has been ‘quite smooth’ in Rotterdam.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, stated: “It is encouraging to see that the total throughput volume is increasing quarter on quarter. However, this does not mean that the port of Rotterdam has already made up entirely for last year’s corona dip.

“The port authority’s financial results were satisfactory. They allow us to continue investing in the port of the future, in the transition to cleaner energy and in good accessibility so that we can help our clients bring more cargo to Rotterdam. We believe that our investments have a significant impact on employment, sustainability and society.”

Overall, the port authority enjoyed a 7.5% rise in revenue to €388m, as contract income from site rental increased, mainly because some existing contracts were brought in line with the current market price.

Revenues from sea port dues rose due to the higher throughput volume. Operating expenses were 4% down on the first half of last year, largely due to lower expenditure during the COVID-19 pandemic and high cost awareness.

The port has progressed with energy transition projects so far in 2021 including the Porthos project where the Dutch government has earmarked €2bn for four companies that want to capture and store CO₂.

Starting in 2024, carbon dioxide will be stored in that project for the first time in the Netherlands on a large scale in empty gas fields under the North Sea.

Additionally, a series of projects are in progress involving large-scale local production, imports of hydrogen from overseas, and application in the transport sector and industry.

Steps are being taken towards an investment decision for the construction of a hydrogen pipeline in the port area. Studies are being conducted into the construction of pipelines between Rotterdam, Chemelot and North Rhine-Westphalia for various substances, including hydrogen and CO₂.

Going forward, the port authority claims it “needs more latitude in the short term under the regulations applicable to nitrogen emissions in order to implement a range of projects in the field of the energy transition”.

“If this fails to materialise, our ambitions cannot be achieved in time and the process of making industry sustainable will stagnate,” it noted.

With regards to digitalisation, in the last half year, the 100th company was also connected to Routescanner, a platform that provides a worldwide picture of container transport routes on the basis of data from container operators.

In addition to the smart exchange and use of this type of information, the port authority is fitting out more of its physical infrastructure with sensors.