Total throughput at the Port of Rotterdam grew by almost 7% in the first half of 2015 thanks to a surge in oil products movements.
The port attributed their growth by the increased throughput of oil products, which increased by almost 30% as well as the 8.3% increase in crude oil throughput.
Additionally, for the first time in five years, the number of sea-going vessels increase by 3%, which reflects the surge of VLCCs being used to store crude due to the buoyant conditions of the contango market.
The throughput of liquid bulk increased by 15.4% compared to the same period the previous year. This has been attributed to the low oil price which led to a build-up of stock as well as the fact that refineries had considerable margins, causing the capacity utilisation rate of the refineries to be fairly high.
Therefore, the volume of crude oil increased significantly, by 8.3%.
Throughput of fuel oil rose by 11 million tonnes- an increase of 50% – thanks to a fuel oil oversupply in North West Europe and Russia. Coupled with the price of fuel oil being subject to open arbitrage, exports to the Far East through Rotterdam increased considerably.
The import of gas oil and diesel increased slightly while marginally less petrol was exported.
In total, the throughput of oil products was 29.7% higher than last year.
In light of the reasonable favourable prospects for development of the port, Authority executives say they will continue to concentrate on their mature markets – namely refining and chemicals.
The Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Moerdijk-Antwerp region remains significantly interested to oil majors as reflected by the large investments currently being made in Antwerp and Moerdijk.
Continued investment in the modernisation of Rotterdam’s large refinery complexes is also expected over the coming years, despite the challenges that the European refining market faces as a whole. While the low oil price has presented a temporary respite for refineries, they still face high labour costs, elevated energy prices and competition from other regions including the US and Middle East.
Additionally, LNG throughput more than doubled in the first six months of 2015, an increase of 106%. This is principally due to the gradual decline of the LNG price in Asia as well as the increase in the re-export of LNG to industrial hubs in Europe, where LNG is becoming the fuel for production processes.