Monday, 4 January 2010

Rotterdam volumes down 8.5% last year

Provisional figures from the Port of Rotterdam Authority show that container volumes fell by 6% last year compared to 2008, while ro-ro traffic was down 11%.
The port’s overall volumes fell 8.5% year-on-year to 385m tonnes, but CEO Hans Smits said given the overall circumstances, he was not dissatisfied and hoped volumes would increase this year.
“After hitting rock bottom in the second quarter, throughput has been improving slightly every month and virtually all the investments are going ahead," he said.
“Moreover, Rotterdam is doing better than its main rivals. But I am not unconcerned. Many of our clients are having a difficult time and that will not be much different in 2010.
“The best medicine for this is growth, partly through an increase in our market shares. We therefore intend to continue with our active commercial policy.
“As a result of this, among other things, I hope that we will be able to break through the 400m tonne barrier again next year. That means growth in throughput considerably over 3%.”
The port’s container tonnage for the year remained just above 100m tonnes, but as fewer empty containers were handled, units declined by 10% to 9.8m teu.
The port said: “Container traffic within Europe, mainly to the major destinations such as England, Ireland and Spain, was hit quite hard. The services to North and South America are sharing in the malaise. The Baltic trade, mostly involving feeder traffic linked to the Asia services, is really flourishing.”
The port said its ro-ro volumes were primarily hit by the decline in the UK market.
It said: “The crisis, which hit [Britain] early and hard, has not led to an earlier onset of recovery. This is further hampered by the value of the pound in relation to the euro.
“England and the Rotterdam services are focused very much on imports. In addition to the imbalance, the North Sea is characterised by the fierce competition between ferry services and with the container services and the Channel Tunnel.
“In the slightly longer term, the investments related to the Olympic Games offer positive prospects, which will buttress the investments in the expansion of capacity for Stena and Cobelfret.”

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