Port of Rotterdam breakbulk throughput down with lower investments
General cargo throughput at the Port of Rotterdam during the first nine months slipped 13.7 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year. The results are due to reduced consumer spending, large stocks and lower investments.
General cargo throughput stood at 5 million tons during the period under review. This compares to 5.8 million tons in the first nine months of 2022. In addition, roll-on/roll-off traffic reached 19.8 million metric tons, 3.8 per cent down on the volumes reported in the January-September period last year. This pushed the total breakbulk cargo throughput to 24.8 metric tons, 6 per cent down on the corresponding period in 2022.
A drop of 6 per cent is exactly what the Port of Rotterdam reported for the overall throughput during the period. Volumes reached 329.9 million tons compared to 351.0 million tons in the same period in 2022. The decline was mainly related to the throughput of containers and coal. Throughput of iron ore and scrap, agricultural bulk and LNG increased.
The drop in the total throughput volume is the direct consequence of limited growth in the global economy and geopolitical tensions, which are driving falling world trade volumes and lower industrial production.
Boudewijn Siemons, interim CEO and COO of Port of Rotterdam Authority said, “As we expected, the throughput in the first nine months was lower than last year but is in line with our prognoses. The economy has not yet recovered and this continues to impact throughput figures. In spite of less throughput, we are committed to investing in a vital and climate-neutral port. In the third quarter, we reached an important milestone in the CO2 transport and storage project, Porthos. After a positive ruling by the Council of State in August, the definitive investment decision was taken in October and construction will begin as soon as possible. Thanks to Porthos, some 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 will be captured annually and stored.”
Container traffic also down
Global demand for freight is still lower than in 2022 as a result of inflation, limited economic growth, geopolitical tensions and higher spending on services rather than products. This has a knock-on effect on the throughput of containers in Rotterdam.
The container segment saw a decline of 8.1 per cent in weight and 7.2 per cent in the number of containers (TEU, twenty feet equivalent unit) in the first nine months. The transhipment volumes increased by 8.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2023.