The Port of Rotterdam joins the ranks climbing out of the recession as it reports a rise in liquid bulk handling throughput in the first half of 2010.
A total of 213 million tonnes of cargo were handled, 14.8% up on the same period of 2009. Outgoing trade rose by 15% to 62 million tonnes, and incoming by 14.7% to 150 million tonnes. The handling of bulk cargo increased by 14.3%, to 146 million tonnes.
Crude oil was up 3%, mineral oil product up 8%, and other liquid bulk grew 7%.
The total for liquid bulk was 5% higher, at 104 million tonnes. Imports of crude oil rose by almost 3% to 50 million tonnes.
This is a better result than could have been expected on the basis of the moderate refining margin for northwest Europe.
The throughput of mineral oil products increased by 8%, to over 38 million tonnes. In the first three months, a lot of (trading) products from storage tankers were still brought ashore. This effect clearly declined in the second quarter.
There was no great difference between short and longer term prices. This weak contango is also expected to dominate the rest of the year.
Thanks to the good weather, there were more ship to ship transfers in the North Sea, rather than the Caland Canal.
Other liquid bulk (chemical basic products, vegetable oils and fats, fruit juices) was 7% up, 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.
The growth sectors of the past six months were containers and iron ore, and also mineral oil products in the first quarter, Hans Smits, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO remarks. 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.