Rotterdam’s ongoing container traffic surge eclipsed overall slackening throughput, and UK o/d traffic is down
Rotterdam handled 0.4% less seaborne cargo in Q1-Q3 2018 measured year-on-year. The 1.5 Mt decrease to 349.9 Mt would have been bigger had container traffic not staged a growth of 4.9% in tonnage to 111 Mt.
In unit terms, container traffic increased by 5.7% to 10.78M TEU.
Bulk cargoes dropped by 5.9 Mt, with dry bulk off 4.48 Mt to 56.6 Mt (-7.3%) and liquid bulk sliding by 1.3% to 159.4 Mt. Breakbulk was almost unchanged, y-o-y.
Allard Castelein, CEO of Rotterdam port authority (HbR), said he anticipates an uptick in Q4, so overall volume would be similar to the result of 217, 467.4 Mt. He highlighted LNG shipments, up 190% year-on-year to 3.74 Mt, mainly thanks to imports from Russia’s Yamal field destined for transhipment into larger carriers in Rotterdam.
In the Asia-Europe trade, laden container volume westbound (into Rotterdam) grew by 10%, against a 7.6% decrease eastbound. North Atlantic and Latin American container traffic grew by almost 10% and 20% respectively. The intra-European shortsea sector showed growth, despite a downturn in UK business.
Ro-ro, which dominated the breakbulk sector’s 22.8 Mt in the first nine months of 2018, booked a 1.3% rise to 18.1 Mt. Trade with the Iberian Peninsula was the main driver, as the volumes to and from England did not grow, "owing to the country’s declining economy caused by the ongoing Brexit uncertainties," HbR stated.
The 7.3% dry bulk nine month decrease to 56.6 Mt was a reflection of all sectors. Agribulk recorded a steep 18% drop to 7.3 Mt, partly caused by bad crops in South America and low European wheat prices. Iron ore and scrap dropped 5.8% to 22 Mt, as coal volumes fell 4.6% to 18.9 Mt.
The anticipated increase in European steel production is likely to improve ore and cokes coal imports in the coming months, HbR noted. Miscellaneous and minor dry bulk traffic fell 7% to 8.36 Mt.