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Issue #589

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NVOCC and Freight Forwarder Review

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2014 Media Kit
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Rotterdam shows moderate growth in container throughput

By: | at 07:00 PM | Ports & Terminals  

In the first nine months of 2008, container throughput in Rotterdam was six percent up, from 77.8 to 82.4 million tons. Incoming trade rose slightly more sharply than outgoing, by 6.9% to 40.8 million tons and 5.2% to 41.7 million tons respectively.

Expressed in TEU (20-foot container units), throughput was 8.2 million units, an increase of 2%. The difference between units and weight is a consequence of the regulation of empty containers by the big terminals.

Throughput from January to the end of September, in thousands of TEUs:



Of the main trades, North America performed best in the first three quarters (+12%), followed by South America (+5%), Asia (+2% to 3.9 million TEU) and Europe (+1% to 2.7 million TEU). Together, the Americas accounted for 1.4 million TEU (+9%).

Within Europe, there was evidence of shrinkage on the ‘short sea’ routes. The main countries involved here are the UK and Ireland, where the economic decline already started early this year. In 2007, the two countries still accounted for around 2 million TEU. This was 52% of Rotterdam’s ‘European’ container throughput and almost 20% of its total container throughput.

In scale, they are followed by the Iberian Peninsula, where Spain – accounting for 280,000 TEU in 2007 – was hit in the course of the year. In the north, Sweden, Norway and Iceland bore up relatively well until September.

The ‘feeder market’ grew by close on five percent until the end of this month. This market again covers the UK, but mainly the Baltic area and more specifically Russia, with around 500,000 TEU in 2007. Theoretically, the growth of the Russian market should remain intact the best/longest.

European traffic actually declined more strongly towards the end of the quarter. Traffic with Asia, on the other hand, improved slightly. This is related to the traditional level of imports prior to the festive season and the build-up of volume by the CKYH alliance for the Euromax terminal.


Just before it was folded up, the Far Eastern Freight Conference (FEFC) announced that the members (accounting for three quarters of the total Far East-Europe volume) achieved 1.9% growth in the first nine months. Although this refers to the westbound traffic and there are differences between Rotterdam’s “Asia” and the area the FEFC used to cover, the Rotterdam picture coincides well with the general one. Hamburg, also with a lot of Asia cargo, is expected to come close to this. Antwerp and Bremerhaven, both strong on the North America trade, could/should be able to record higher growth figures.


In comparison with the situation/development in 2007 (total throughput 10.8 million TEU) in Rotterdam:

+/- 2006
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