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Indiaexportnews.com

Port of Rotterdam throughput up 3%

  18.04.2012    

In the first quarter of 2012, throughput in the port of Rotterdam was 3% up on the same period of last year, at 110 million tonnes. Broken down into types of cargo, incoming and outgoing trade in agribulk (-15%), iron ore and scrap (-14%), other dry bulk (-19%) and other general cargo (-19%) fell. On the positive side, coal (+15%), crude oil (+6%), mineral oil products (+13%), other liquid bulk (+8%) and containers (+1%) were all up. Imports of LNG and the handling of roll on/roll off cargo were stable.   
Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Hans Smits: ‘The results are better than we expected at the end of last year, even if I subtract the percentage growth we owe to the leap day. According to the prognosis at the end of 2011, there would be a slight fall in the first half of 2012, followed by recovery in the second half, with a stable or slightly increased end result. From this perspective, we ‘laid on some fat’ in the first quarter. Whether or not we’ll need to draw on these reserves depends on the German and Dutch economies. The former continues to develop positively, while the latter still gives little reason for optimism. Exports to countries outside the EU, the majority of which travel via Rotterdam, provide a ray of hope.’
 
Liquid bulk
Throughput of liquid bulk increased 9% to 55 million tonnes. Imports of crude oil grew by 1.5 million tonnes to 26 million tonnes, thanks to the improved refining margins, and they are now back at the customary level. Exports of mineral oil products rose by 1.5 million tonnes to over 9 million tonnes, mainly because the higher price in Singapore in the first two months attracted more fuel oil. More fuel oil was also imported from Russia. In addition, new tank capacity became available, mainly at ETT and BTT.
 
Dry bulk
Total throughput of dry bulk was 7% down, to 19 million tonnes. Imports of coal rose by almost one million tonnes, to 7 million tonnes. Thanks to the low coal prices, stocks are being built up. Handling of iron ore reflects the falling demand for steel. Production at blast furnaces has been scaled down or even halted. Imports of iron ore remain steady because demand for higher-grade steel, for example for cars, is still at a reasonable level. The fall in the loading and unloading of other dry bulk (building materials, minerals, biomass) is in keeping with a virtually stagnant construction sector and declining industrial production.
 
Containers, general cargo
Container throughput rose in tonnes by 1% to 30 million tonnes, but fell in terms of units by 4%, to 2.8 million TEU. The economic developments are putting pressure on imports of container cargo, mainly from Asia. Exports of loaded containers are increasing, however. As a result, fewer empty containers (-16%) were returned to the East. As expected, roro traffic remained stable, in line with the development of the British economy, which is just marking time. The fall in throughput of other general cargo can be attributed to the disappointing imports of steel slabs, raw steel from which semi-manufactured products such as steel plates are made.


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