Image courtesy of Rotterdam Port Authority.
According to the port’s results press release, it handled a total of 103.4 million t of freight in 3Q20 and total throughput over the first nine months of the year currently stands at 322.3 million t. This figure is 8.8% lower than the volume recorded in the equivalent period last year. The main throughput categories to record a decline in volumes were crude oil, iron ore, coal, and mineral oil products. In contrast, the port reported an increase in agribulk volumes, with only a very modest decline in container throughput.
In comparison with 2Q20, many segments showed a marked improvement in their throughput volumes. The agribulk, iron ore and scrap, biomass, and roll on/roll off categories, in particular, could report a strong recovery at the end of 3Q20 – even compared to pre-COVID volumes. In addition, there was a clear increase in the number of containers put through the port in 3Q20 compared to the preceding quarter.
Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “At present, it is still too early to determine whether we have left the worst behind us in economic terms. Nevertheless, I am heartened by the revival of international trade flows and the resilience of our economy – in which the rate of recovery naturally depends to an extent on further developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Dutch government and companies in our port will be able to give our economy a kick-start by stepping up their joint pace of investment. This will allow us to retain jobs, create new prosperity and help build a more sustainable Netherlands.”
To recover as quickly as possible from the economic slump, while simultaneously improving sustainability in the port, the Port Authority has proposed accelerating a number of investment projects. This acceleration of investment projects that are intended to increase sustainable earning power – also known as the Starter Motor project – can create thousands of new structural jobs, contribute billions to the gross domestic product of the Netherlands and substantially cut the volume of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.
Dry bulk showed an 18.6% decline compared to the first three quarters of last year. Within this segment, biomass throughput actually increased as a result of the increased firing of this product by Dutch power stations. The growing production of electric power using solar, wind, and gas has contributed to a decline in the throughput of thermal coal. Falling steel production in Rotterdam’s hinterland – particularly in Germany – has also had a negative impact on the volumes of iron ore and coke put through the port. Agribulk throughput rose as a result of increased import.