Europe's leading Port of Rotterdam wobbled in its first half 2013 performance in flat volumes due to the syphoning off by north German ports of container trade, a shift of energy shipments, and "the persisting economic malaise in Europe".
Of most concern, said the UK's Transport Intelligence, is Rotterdam's loss of feeder traffic to the Baltic which was slightly offset by Mediterranean short-sea volumes, which increased five per cent.
This may signal an increase in connection with its Eastern neighbours and a serious threat to its position as leading port in Europe.
The decline in container volumes at 2.2 per cent, though slightly up in terms of volume at one per cent, may signal more serious problems of a logistics map moving away from reliance on Rotterdam and its serving of Central European supply chains.
Of particular note, said Ti, is the sudden decline in liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments down by 70 per cent highlighting a move for the gas market to East Asian economies which will play the premium. Its overall oil trade dropped in tonnage by 8.7 per cent attributed to Europe's slowdown and maintenance activities at the port's refineries.
It saw some relief in its coal volumes trade up by 13 per cent as European electricity generators used cheap American coal. Ro-ro figures were up modestly at two per cent but the port complained of a lack of UK business despite its double digit percentage growth in automotive sales and input, according to the Shipping Gazette.