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Port of Rotterdam marks slight increase in volumes

Over the last three quarters, the port of Rotterdam handled 0.3% more cargo than the same period last year, the port’s latest throughput statistics show. Crude oil (+2%) is slightly up compared to the 2013
level, but mineral oil products (-11%) and other liquid bulk (-9%), mainly feedstocks for the chemical industry, are lagging behind, which is attributed to the difficult situation of the chemical industry in Europe, lower (re-)exports of heavy fuel oil to the Far East, the limited economic growth in Europe and increasing competition with new terminals in other ports. LNG throughput is still limited in scale, but has more than doubled (+137%).

 Within the dry bulk sector, less iron ore and scrap were handled (-5%) due to maintenance work on a large blast furnace in Germany and a fall in the transhipment volume. Container traffic increased (+4%), despite congestion on the Maasvlakte this summer, as a result of which a number of ships were diverted to Antwerp.

During the first two months of the year, container throughput lagged behind. Between March and the end of September, however, throughput was on average 6% higher than last year. The tentative economic recovery is the main reason for these positive figures.

 There was a slight fall in the handling of cargo from the Far East in the third quarter, partly due to the diversion of ships to Antwerp, whilst cargo to and from North and South America increased. In 2013, Rotterdam lost feeder cargo destined for the Baltic to Hamburg.

 This has now largely returned to Rotterdam, due to congestion in Hamburg, but also because shipping companies are switching cargo to Rotterdam in anticipation of the opening of terminals on Maasvlakte 2.

 The strong British economy is largely responsible for the growth in short sea traffic. Roll-on/roll-off traffic was also up (+8%), thanks to the recovery of the British economy. Other mixed cargo increased strongly (+31%), partly because more steel passed through the port and more cargo for the offshore industry was handled.

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