Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority:
'Europe relies heavily on Russian energy. The current geopolitical situation makes Europe very vulnerable. The availability of energy and raw materials at reasonable prices cannot be taken for granted. A positive development is that concrete steps have been taken in recent months to make our energy supply more sustainable and to further our energy independence, particularly through investment decisions to build a large biorefinery and Europe’s largest green-hydrogen plant. The business community has made a commitment in the last half year to invest € 3 billion in the energy transition. In addition to the vulnerability of the European energy system, nitrogen emissions continue to be a major bottleneck. Several major projects, including the CO2 capture and storage project Porthos, are being delayed or threatened by delays due to uncertainty and restrictions associated with nitrogen emission'.
The Port Authority had a good first half of the year financially. Revenue increased by 6.3% (€ 24.6 million) to € 412.2 million and operating expenses decreased by 2.4% (€ 3.1 million), mainly due to lower expenditure on sand extraction. Gross investments in the first half of 2022 amounted to € 117.1 million, including capital injections in participating interests (first half of 2021: € 100.5 million). The most important investments for the first half of 2022 were the construction of quay walls in the Amaliahaven and the land reclamation operation in the Alexiahaven on Maasvlakte 2.
Vivienne de Leeuw, CFO Port of Rotterdam Authority:
'Our robust financial position is essential to continue investing in traditional hardware such as quay walls and jetties in the years ahead, but particularly in infrastructure for the energy transition. In addition, we are continuing to invest in digitalisation. By maintaining our position as a port with world-class infrastructure, we are ensuring that we remain an attractive location for companies to invest in the transition'.
Safety and security
Safety and security are a top priority in the port of Rotterdam. The Port of Rotterdam Authority works hard with public partners to maintain safety and security, both on the water and on land. Unfortunately, in the first half of the year, there was a very serious accident involving an inland vessel. There were no major environmental incidents. The Port Authority is committed to improving the digital security of systems and the cyber resilience of businesses and employees. Subversion and drugs crime constitute an increasing problem in the port of Rotterdam. Here also, the Port Authority plays a role, for example by making its own employees and companies in the port aware of integrity through the ‘Port Integrity’ programme. In addition, agreements were made with the partners and the Ministry of Justice and Security to extend and further develop the existing network of 225 cameras in the port. The images from this network are viewed by a range of public partners (Harbour Master’s Division, police and customs).
Dry bulk
The dry bulk segment saw an increase of 4.4% in the first half of the year. The throughput of agricultural bulk was down by 15.1%. This segment is always heavily influenced by the size of harvests in different parts of the world. In addition, there were strikes at one of the processing companies. Another factor was that less agricultural bulk was processed because of high energy costs. High energy costs also led to lower production by the German steel industry and, as a result, a fall of 20.6% in iron ore imports. The imports of cokes for the steel industry remained at the same level. Coal throughput for electricity plants rose sharply. On balance, this resulted in a 29.7% increase in coal throughput. Coal is currently cheaper than natural gas and it also reduces dependence on Russian natural gas. The 30.1% increase in other dry bulk is striking. It is primarily attributable to the high prices for the shipping of containers: cargo that can also be transported in bulk, such as industrial minerals and fertilisers, is therefore being transported in this way more often.
Other break bulk rose sharply by 17.7%. A major factor consisted of imports of steel and non-ferrous metals. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, steel and non-ferrous prices shot up. Alternative suppliers were soon found, particularly from Asia, where COVID-19 actually led to a slump in demand for steel. Imports of steel and non-ferrous metal therefore increased. In addition, high container rates mean that more cargo is being shipped as break bulk.