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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Bunker boost for Rotterdam as throughput rises

14.8 percent rise in cargo throughput bodes well for bunker sales volumes at Europe's leading port.

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Updated on 13 Aug 2010 10:17 GMT

The port of Rotterdam has announced a 14.8 percent rise in cargo throughput during the first half of 2010 in a comparison with the corresponding period in 2009.

The figures will be positive news for the bunker sector, which has seen sales volumes decline over the last two years as a consequence of the economic climate and declining throughput.

A total of 213 million tonnes of cargo were handled between January and June. Outgoing trade rose by 15 percent to 62 million tonnes, whilst incoming trade increased by 14.7 percent to 150 million tonnes.

The handling of bulk cargo rose by 14.3 percent to 146 million tonnes, general cargo was up 15.7 percent to 66 million tonnes and both agribulk and coal throughput were down by 20 percent and 1 percent respectively.

All other types of cargo were in the black: ores and scrap (+150%), other dry bulk (+36%), crude oil (+3%), mineral oil product (+8%), other liquid bulk (+7%), roll on/roll off (+2%), other general cargo (+21%) and containers (+18%).

Meanwhile, container throughput rose by 18 percent to 5.4 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units).

Commenting on the results, Hans Smits, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO said “The growth sectors of the past six months were containers and iron ore, and also mineral oil products in the first quarter. Rotterdam is benefiting greatly from the upturn in world trade, especially that involving China and Germany. Total throughput is now more or less back to the 2008 level. In the second half of the year, the growth in throughput tends to decline. For the year as a whole, the increase is expected to be in the region of 10%. It will be exciting to see whether or not the port can make up for the losses of 2009 in just one year”.

Dry bulk

Total dry bulk throughput increased by 45 percent to 42 million tonnes during the first six months of 2010 compared to the year-earlier period.

Agribulk (grains, seeds, animal feeds) throughput continued to fall, by almost 1 million tonnes, due to the use of European raw materials, such as rapeseed, rather than those from overseas.

Almost the same quantity of coal (-1% to 12 million tonnes) was handled between January and June this year as in 2009. There has been a positive trend in the transshipment of coke coal for the steel industry, but the quantity of coal imported for energy production was lower than expected. However, it did begin to rally during the second quarter.

The forecast for the second half of the year is said to be positive. The German coal sector this year is expecting a 6 percent rise in imports and the transshipment of ores and scrap has skyrocketed 150 percent to almost 21 million tonnes.

Thyssen-Krupp, Rotterdam’s main ore customer, is running at almost full capacity again. The sharp increase in imports in Belgium, Luxembourg and France is also an indication of good business for leading steel producer Arcelor.

The handling of other dry bulk (mainly minerals for the production of glass, paper, steel and chemicals) rose by 36 percent, to almost 8 million tonnes, and demand for industrial raw materials in the EU has increased rapidly with the German automotive and machine industry acting as a boost. However, demand from the construction sector has lagged behind in comparison.

Liquid bulk

Total liquid bulk throughput was 5 percent higher, at 104 million tonnes, during the first six months of 2010 compared to last year. The result is said to be better than expected following moderate refining margins in Northwest Europe.

Meanwhile, throughput of mineral oil products increased by 8 percent, to over 38 million tonnes.

Other liquid bulk (chemical basic products, vegetable oils and fats, fruit juices) was up 7 percent to almost 16 million tonnes, due to the recovery in chemical production. The handling of vegetable oils remained stable. New tank capacity in the Europoort boosted imports of bioethanol.

General cargo

The general cargo sector enjoyed a positive first six months, with an increase in throughput of 9 million tonnes (+16%) to 66 million. Both incoming and outgoing containers rose by double-digit figures.

Throughput, in terms of weight, was up 18 percent to 55 million tonnes, whilst TEU throughput also rose by 18 percent to 4.6 million TEU (+ 812,000).

The tempo of the first quarter slowed down slightly, but the driving forces remained in Asia, in particular China, and in Europe, especially the Baltic area. There was also a substantial increase in traffic with Great Britain, due to the tentative recovery of the British economy.

Roll-on / roll-off transport has also benefited from this increase in traffic, rising 2 percent to 8 million tonnes. Increased capacity at Stena Line could have a positive impact on throughput during the second half of this year.

There was a sharp increase in the handling of other general cargo, up 21% (+0.6 million tonnes). Steel throughput, which accounts for almost half of general cargo throughput, was reported to have performed 'particularly well'.

Bunker Volumes

Sales of marine fuel have fallen in Rotterdam over the last two years since reaching 13.6 million tonnes in 2007.

In 2008, just under 13 million tonnes were sold, almost equalling 2006 levels. In total, 12,493,424 tonnes of fuel oil, 252,414 tonnes of marine gas oil (MGO), 87,526 tonnes of diesel oil (MDO) and 123,954 tonnes of lubricating oil were bunkered in 2008, resulting in a total turnover of 12,967,317 tonnes.

Last year, sales of marine fuel in Rotterdam were estimated to have remained below the 13 million tonne mark for the second successive year, as goods throughput fell to 385 million tonnes, 8.5 percent lower than in 2008.

Related Links:

Rotterdam fuel oil trade up in 2009
Rotterdam: Drop in '09 bunker sales expected
Rotterdam: Q1 throughput falls 10.8 percent
VTTI announces Rotterdam expansion

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