In the first half of 2009 throughput of liquid bulk at the port of Rotterdam showed little change (-0.5%) at 99 million tonnes. Imports of crude oil fell by 4% to 49 million tonnes, a soft blow considering the economic trend.
Alongside this, demand for oil products remains high and refinery capacity in other parts of Europe has been closed down. These factors are keeping demand high, at around 50 million tonnes.
There was a sharp increase in the transshipment of mineral oil products, by 17%, to over 35 million tonnes.
Due to the considerable capacity in terms of storage (tanks) and transshipment (jetties, buoys, posts) and depth, Rotterdam is an ideal hub for fuel oil, gas oil (diesel), kerosene and petrol.
Other liquid bulk was 20% down, to over 14 million tonnes. This was largely attributable to imports, which fell 27% to almost 9 million tonnes. Basic chemicals, which make up the majority of this category of goods, were down as much as a quarter.
The handling of vegetable oils suffered from the declining demand from Eastern Europe. Imports of biofuels were lower than anticipated. If the oil price rises further, this will, in principle, be advantageous for blending with biofuels, the port says.