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Rotterdam hits container record in H1 2019

In the first half of calendar 2019, the Port of Rotterdam handled 7.5M TEU over its quays, up 6.4% year on year and a new record

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In the first half of calendar 2019, the Port of Rotterdam handled 7.5M TEU over its maritime quays, up 6.4% year on year and a new record


Addressing the H1 results, port authority (HbR) CEO Allard Castelein said that preparations for the phase 2 expansions of Maasvlakte II container terminals APM Terminals II and Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) are "in full swing," but he did not indicate any specific timings, indicating that talks with the two terminal operators have not yet been concluded.


Pressed on the matter, Castelein said he expects expansions at both the terminals to come on stream "in the first half of the next decade." As RWG and APMT II sit opposite each other at the Amalia dock, HbR is likely to combine the works and so reap economy of scale advantages.


Castelein added that there is still growth capacity as things stand, although in April RWG told WorldCargo News that it is running at 90-95% of phase 1 maximum capacity.

The Container Exchange Route on the Maasvlaktes could bring yet more container traffic
The Container Exchange Route on the Maasvlaktes could bring yet more container traffic

RWG expects the Container Exchange Route (CER) to draw, in time, a minimum 2 to 3M TEU a year away from the Hamburg-Le Havre range ports, including ports in the UK. With a €175M price tag for HbR, the dedicated dual lane 17-km track and its handover points are due to be ready by late 2020.


Asked about the disappointing time frame for the 73-km German third railway track needed for the Betuweroute (2026 at best), Castelein revealed that HbR has been in talks with German action groups, but he reiterated, perhaps diplomatically, that the new grade-separated track is a "priority of both the national transport department in Berlin and of the federal state of North Rhine Westphalia in Düsseldorf.


Castelein forecast that container traffic would continue to grow year on year in H2, albeit at a lower rate than in H1, when growth was fuelled by increased imports from Asia and by a 15.7% increase in feeder boxes. On the other hand intra-European shortsea container traffic fell by 8.5%, partly due to the weak Turkish economy.


Castelein also reported that HbR has a new customer for its "Navigate" digital shipping route planner, the Port of Gdansk.


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