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Published: 24 October 2009      

1Q-3Q results from northwest Continent ports

Ports in northwest Europe have posted a mixed bag of results for the year to the end of September

Le Havre – the port authority (GPM du Havre) reported that containerised general cargo traffic reached 16.3 Mt, compared to 18.0 Mt in the corresponding period in 2008. In unit terms the figure was 1.65M TEU, as against 1.8M TEU as at end of September 2008.

Rotterdam – the port authority (GHR) reports that traffic "stabilised" in 3Q/09. The amount of cargo handled in the port decreased by 11.9% to 283 Mt s in the first nine months of this year.

Almost every type of cargo displayed negative growth: iron and scrap metal (-56%), agribulk (-18%), coal (-17%), other dry bulk (-19%), crude oil (-7%), other liquid bulk (-19%), containers (-12%), roll on/roll off (-13%), and other general cargo (-23%). Only petroleum products showed growth, and strong growth at that, increasing by 21% to 22 Mt.

As a result, the total throughput of liquid bulk remained virtually constant at 147 Mt. Dry bulk throughput decreased sharply, shedding a third to 46 Mt. General cargo throughput fell by 12% to 89 Mt.

GHR's CEO Hans Smits said: "There is still a hefty decrease in terms of percentages, but the trend curve has started turning slightly upwards again since July. On balance, this means a stabilisation in throughput. This corresponds to expectations from halfway through the year, according to which the prognosis for the whole year is a decrease in throughput of approximately 10%."

The amount of container cargo handled declined by 12% to 73 Mt in the year to September 2009 (-13% in units to 7.2M TEU).

Antwerp – overall volume was down by 19% in first nine months to around 117 Mt. However, the degree of decline is stable with regard to the figures for the first quarter and the first half of the year. “Volumes seem to have stabilised in the past few months,” said CEO Eddy Bruyninckx.

“In the third quarter the amount of shipping freight has remained the same, and we suspect that this trend will continue for the remainder of the year. At the moment there are not enough signs for an economic revival in the last quarter of 2009.”

Container volume dropped 17.4% from more than 78 Mt to just under 65 Mt in the period January-September 2009 (by 18.4% in unit terms to 5.4M TEU).

The volume of conventional/breakbulk was down by 37.8% to 7.9 Mt, with sharp drops in steel (down 44.5%) and wood pulp and paper (down 52.1%).

Zeebrugge – the port authority (MBZ) has reported a 1.5% overall increase in throughput in the first nine months, to 32.5 Mt.

Falls in ro-ro and dry bulk traffics were offset by increases in LNG imports and a 10.6% increase in container throughput, which reached 17.8 Mt.

  • Antwerp's biggest general cargo operator, PSA-HNN, is having difficulty negotiating redundancies totalling 108 posts with the unions. The planned reductions concern HNN, IT-Cosmos and container repairer ACE, which is now partly-owned by PSA-HNN's biggest customer, MSC.



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  • Europe) Belgium) Antwerp
  • Europe) Belgium) Zeebrugge, Port of
  • Europe) France) Le Havre
  • Europe) Netherlands) Port of Rotterdam
  • PSA HNN
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