A total of 11.2 million tonnes (gross) of goods were handled in Rostock during the first half of 2012. Of this, 10.4 million tonnes were handled at the seaport and 800,000 tonnes at other port facilities in Rostock, such as the chemical port of Yara and the cargo and fishing port. The amounts of cargo at the seaport and the other port facilities of Rostock are thus seven percent below the level of the previous year. The number of ferry passengers carried to and from Northern Europe by contrast increased slightly by 1,000 to 851,000 between January and June 2012 compared to the same period last year.
Of the 10.4 million tonnes of goods handled at the seaport (minus six percent compared to last year) 6.3 million tonnes came from the wheeled cargo of ferry and ro-ro traffic. There was a decrease by 300,000 tonnes or five percent in this segment. The share of ferry and ro-ro goods in the overall handling at the all-purpose port of Rostock amounted to 61 percent in the first six months. 39 percent or 4.1 million tonnes were achieved with the handling of dry and liquid bulk goods and general cargo, which means a decrease by 400,000 tonnes or nine percent compared to the first half of 2011. 'The sluggish economic trend in the catchment area of the port of Rostock naturally has consequences for the transport flows and thus also for the cargo handling activities. This year the situation is compounded also by special developments such as the loss of freight resulting from the upgrading of the railway line between Rostock and Berlin by Deutsche Bahn', says Ulrich Bauermeister, managing director of the port development company.
3,622 ferry, ro-ro, cargo and cruise vessels called at Rostock seaport in the first half of 2012, of which 2,647 were ferries. 162,863 trucks (escorted units) were carried on the four ferry and three ro-ro links to and from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland and the UK, a decrease of two percent. Handling of unescorted units (trailers) was also slightly on the decline. 56,431 trailers were loaded and unloaded, also a decrease by two percent compared to the first half of 2011.
There are 30 weekly intermodal transport trains at the intermodal transport terminal, running to and from Verona (12), Basel/Domodossola (5), Duisburg/Hamburg (6), Novara (3), Brno (2) and Wels (2). 'As a result of the conversion of the containers used, from small load units such as swap bodies to larger load units such as trailers, made by our big customers like Hanggartner, LKW-Walter and Schenker the number of units handled decreased (from 38,304 to 35,833) but the cargo handled, converted to trailer units, increased (from 30,939 to 32,401). In this calculation, two swap bodies equal one trailer unit', explains Ulrich Bauermeister. 'We are content with this development, mainly also against the background of current building work at the intermodal transport terminal and the various renovation and maintenance work along railway lines that are significant for us.'
At 1.4 million tonnes, the handling of liquid goods during the first six months of 2012 remains on the low level of the previous year due to the economic situation. Especially naphtha, fuel oil and gas oil were pumped across the quayside.
At 2.5 million tonnes the result achieved in dry bulk goods last year was missed by 400,000 tonnes. The handling of grain (brewer's barley, barley, malt, rye and wheat) was around 180,000 tonnes below the first half of 2011, totalling 1 million tonnes (barley: minus 200,000 tonnes, wheat plus 63,000 tonnes). Grain handling accounted for 40 percent of all dry bulk goods moved. 'As a result of the building work along the railway line between Rostock and Berlin we are missing the cement handling this year', says Ulrich Bauermeister. 'Thus the missing cement handling tears a hole of 200,000 tonnes more in our dry bulk balance.' Apart from grain and cement handling, significant losses occurred in iron ore (minus 60,000 tonnes) and coal (minus 50,000 tonnes).
An above-average result for the first six months of the year was achieved in rapeseed handling (plus 70,000 tonnes). 'For the trend in grain handling during the second half of the year much will depend on the harvest in progress. The market prices are decent. The situation is different for coal and ore, the demand for which is a typical early indicator of the general economic trend. And that doesn't look rosy at the moment. We do however understand the structural change in energy generation which relies on greater utilization of renewable sources, as an opportunity for Rostock as an industrial site', says Ulrich Bauermeister.
In general cargo handling a slight increase by two percent was recorded in the first six months of 2012. 252,000 tonnes were hoisted across the ships' sides. Increasingly, slabs (plus 12,000 tonnes), billets and blooms (plus 8,000 tonnes) and metal pipes (plus 26,000 tonnes) were handled.
Investments by Hafen-Entwicklungsgesellschaft Rostock mbH
'The port is and remains a permanent building site. This year we again plan on a capex volume of around Euro 50million. The level of investments speaks for the quality of the location and of the port businesses active here as well as for the potential of our catchment area. About Euro 21million are earmarked for the further extension of the ferry and ro-ro terminal and for the intermodal transport handling facility. 'The ferry landing stage at berth 54 was completed in the spring and the reorganization of the entire ferry terminal begun in 2011 was also concluded', says Ulrich Bauermeister.
The northern extension of pier III by twelve hectares was also finished this spring. The total cost of this land reclamation amounted to Euro 37million. The embankment having already been built in 2010, the filling operation with 1.68 million cubic metres of gravel from the Baltic Sea was completed this spring. Construction of the new heavy duty berth 15 at the eastern side of pier III was completed at a cost of around Euro 5million.
Further large building projects in 2012 are the reconditioning of the new pile dolphin jetty facility at berth 5 in the oil port for around Euro 2million (already finished) and the construction and completion of the eastern road connection to the industrial area in the approaches to the port for around Euro2.5 million.
Conversion of the intermodal transport terminal until 2013
Since early May of this year the port development company has been converting the intermodal transport terminal south of pier I together with the regional construction company STRABAG AG without interrupting its day-to-day business. The new and efficient handling terminal for rail, road and seaborne cargo will be converted until the end of 2013 on an area of around 30,000 square metres. Two ramps and two railway tracks have already been demolished and rails extended and moved until June 2012. The intermodal terminal currently commands two tracks on which approx. 77,000 units were handled last year. This corresponds to a volume of approx. 1.5 million tonnes. Handling is currently performed by three efficient reach stackers, each with a hoisting capacity of 45 tonnes.
After the end of the building work next year there will be three additional tracks available for handling. The then five tracks will be served by two new gantry cranes able to drive curves, each weighing 500 tonnes and with a height of 35 metres and a spread of 76.5 metres. This will double the handling capacity of the terminal. The overall investment for the project amounts to Euro 17million. The Federal Railway Authority provides 70 % subsidies for this conversion and extension while the own share of the port development company is more than Euro 5million.
The start of a new intermodal transport connection to Vienna is planned for the autumn of 2012 and so is a service to Trieste with a connection to Turkey and South-Eastern Europe next year. 'As a part of the Baltic-Adriatic corridor the intermodal connection via Rostock is the shortest and fastest traffic route between Central Europe, Southern Europe and Scandinavia', explains Ulrich Bauermeister.
Disposal of ships' waste water in Warnemünde
For the start of the cruise liner season in April 2012, the reception and processing of ships' waste water became possible at the three cruise liner berths in Warnemünde thanks to a cooperation with the utility company Eurawasser. To achieve this, Rostock Port Development Company invested Euro 2million in the necessary facilities and the sewerage lines at the passenger quay.
Since the public sewage in the Hanseatic City of Rostock is clarified in a biological sewage treatment plant it is not possible to receive chlorinated ships' sewage here. Eurawasser has set limit values for ships' waste water to be discharged into the public sewerage regarding its ph-value, conductivity, chlorides and AOX compounds (adsorbable organically bound halogens) which were passed on to the shipping companies beforehand and of which the respective vessels are advised before they call at Warnemünde. Only those ships which adhere to these limit values my discharge the so-called grey water into the public sewerage via on-board pumps. This process water is constantly checked at an analyser station at the port in order to rule out transgressions of the limits.
Until mid-July more than 10,000 tonnes of ships' waste water were discharged directly into the newly created disposal system at Warnemünde passenger port, mainly from vessels with on-board sewage treatment plants.
'Last year and this year we have launched and completed the largest building projects of the last 20 years in the port of Rostock with a capex volume of Euro 50million each. The reorganization of the ferry terminal and the northern extention of pier III were the most comprehensive and demanding projects. There can hardly be a better proof for the implementation of our motto, to place internal port development before outside extension', says Ulrich Bauermeister.
Warnemünde passenger port: The high up north
With a total of 180 port calls by 39 ocean cruise vessels the passenger port of Rostock-Warnemünde again remains the most popular German cruise port this season. 24 international cruise operators have included this southern Baltic cruise port popular with passengers and crews alike, in their itineraries as a starting point for excursions to the Hanseatic City, the holiday region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the German capital, Berlin.
'After the outstanding 2011 season with 158 port calls by 34 vessels we have become even busier this year. That is good for the city, for the federal state and for the port. The world comes to visit us. This does not just enhance the international character of Rostock, it also adds value here. The port city on river Warnow remains Germany's most popular destination for cruise tourists from all over the world. That says something for the port, the region and all the service providers and authorities involved in cruise shipping', Ulrich Bauermeister, managing director of Hafen-Entwicklungsgesellschaft Rostock, states happily.
Rostock-based shipping company AIDA Cruises again starts a total of 33 tours around the Baltic with two vessels, AIDAsol and AIDAblu, from Warnemünde. US-based Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises as well as the Italian shipping company Costa change some of their passengers here. The cruise shipping calendar for 2012 lists three quadruple port calls on 10 June, 20 and 23 July. On the first two of these dates one ship had to berth at the seaport. There are also twelve triple port calls in 2012.
Six vessels were first-time visitors at the mouth of river Warnow: Costa Voyager, Costa Fortuna, Gann, Nautica, Star Flyer and Ryndam. The most frequent guests at Rostock's seaside resort are the cruise liners AIDAblu (17 times), AIDAsol (16 times), Costa Fortuna (15 times), Norwegian Sun (15 times), Emerald Princess (11 times) and Empress (10 times).
'Of the 180 ships calling here, 74 are changing all or some of their passengers at the Warnemünde passenger quay, which represents a significant increase in this part of the cruise business that adds a lot of value. Handling this great number of ships calling at the three berths in Warnemünde is proof of the high degree of professionalism of all companies, authorities and staff active in this division and of the efficient way in which the port development company handles investments', says Ulrich Bauermeister.
This new German record season will end on 25 November when the UK passenger liner Black Watch is expected to leave port.