In the first six months of 2021, throughput in the port of Rotterdam was 231.6 million tonnes, a rise of 5.8% compared with the same period last year. Despite this increase, throughput volume has not yet recovered from last year's corona dip. In the first half of the year, there was primarily an increase in incoming and outgoing flows of iron ore, coal and containers. The Port Authority's financial results were good.
Highlights of the first half of the year
  • Total throughput: 231.6 million tonnes (+5.8%).
  • Considerable increase in the throughput of iron ore (+34.4%), coal (+35.8%), break bulk (+10.1%) and containers (+8.7% in TEUs); fall in the throughput of agricultural bulk (-8.9%) and LNG (-4.7%).
  • Successful handling of post-Suez shipping blockage.
  • Concrete steps ahead in the energy transition, thanks in part to financial support (SDE++) for businesses that want to capture and store CO2 using Porthos, and extra production capacity for biodiesel.
  • Increase in Port Authority revenue by 7.5% to € 387.6 million; operating result 16.4% higher at € 174.9 million.
Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “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.”
Dry bulk
The throughput of dry bulk amounted to 37.7 million tonnes, an increase of 22.5% on the first half of 2020. In particular, the upturn in German steel production led to a rise in demand for iron ore and scrap (+34.4%). Demand for cokes for blast furnaces was also higher in consequence. There was also much more demand for energy coal for power generation during this period. That was related to the bounce in the economy and disappointing electricity production from wind.
High gas prices meant that power generation with coal was competitive despite the higher prices for carbon emission rights. Total coal throughput rose by 35.8% in the first half year. It should be pointed out that the volume of coal is decreasing when viewed over a period of several years, falling by 44% between 2015 and 2020.
The throughput of agricultural bulk was down by 8.9%. Last year, the throughput of cereals, oil seeds and cattle feed was high despite the corona crisis. At the time, the uncertainty about possible disruptions to the supply of foodstuffs led traders and importers to buy large amounts of agricultural bulk. However, from October last year onwards, throughput tailed off because large stocks, including those of soya and maize, had built up during the year.