Following a fall in maritime transshipment in the first quarter of 2013 (–3.3%), the Zeeland ports have ended the second quarter well up. The first half year therefore showed a positive trend. Imports and exports rose during these six months by 1.8% (+/- 290,000 tonnes) compared with the first half year of 2012.
In the first six months of 2013, there was a 2.8% increase in the volume of goods imported whilst exports fell by 0.8%. Total goods imported and exported was 16,805,035 tonnes.
Dry bulk throughput was up 1.5% compared with the first six months of 2012. Growth can be seen in agricultural products (4.3%), but the most marked increase was in the transhipment of raw minerals and building materials (64.4%). As in the first quarter, there was a fall in solid fuel throughput, mainly coal (–6.2%). There was also a decrease in the transshipment of fertilizers (–11.8%).The bankruptcy of Thermphos partly explains this decrease.
There was a decline in the handling of RoRo (–9.8%) and containers (–7.5%) in particular, and general cargo to a lesser degree (–1%). RoRo and containers are relatively modest sectors for the Zeeland ports, so these decreases have only a limited impact on total maritime transhipment volumes.
Economic conditions are still unfavourable and this is also affecting Zeeland Seaports and its clients. Despite this, Zeeland Seaports expects to equal its 2012 figures for maritime transshipment volumes, thanks to an active acquisitions policy and because a number of businesses in the Zeeland ports are expanding substantially despite the unfavourable economic situation.
Zeeland Seaports is, as Zeeland port authority, responsible for developing, managing, maintaining and operating the ports of Vlissingen and Terneuzen. The port area is located strategically at the mouth of the Western Scheldt and differentiates itself by the rapid access for shipping and the good, congestion-free connections with the European hinterland. Due to this strategic location, the Zeeland ports have been able to develop during the past 40 years into the third-largest seaport in the Netherlands.