Rotterdam port fully operational in H1, throughput lower on coronavirus
24th July 2020 08:03 GMT

Throughput at Europe's largest port of Rotterdam in the first half of the year fell 9.1% year on year because of the coronavirus pandemic but the port remained fully operational.

However Q2 throughput "turned out to be better than initially expected," Rotterdam Port Authority CEO Allard Castelein said July 23.

"The negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt worldwide," Castelein said in a statement about the port's H1 throughput. "It should therefore come as no surprise that throughput volumes in the past six months were considerably lower than in the same period last year."

The port expects "a cautious recovery of the economy" for the rest of the year but as there is "considerable uncertainty about how long the recession will last and when recovery will begin," total throughput volume is likely "to be significantly lower than in 2019."

Throughput in January-June fell 9.1% year on year to 218.945 million mt, although this compares with "a throughput record" in H1 2019.

There was "significant reduction" in the handling of coal, iron ore, scrap and oil products, a small reduction in container throughput, but an increase in throughput of biomass and LNG, the port said.

Rotterdam handled 50.151 million mt of crude oil cargoes in the first half, down 4.1% year on year, but oil product throughput fell "sharply" by 22% to 29.618 million mt, and related mainly to fuel oil, the port said.

It has previously noted a fall in the trading of fuel oil between Russia and Singapore, for which Rotterdam has been the throughput location, as Russian fuel oil was shipped directly to the US. Russian fuel oil has been heading to the US as a feedstock for crackers and cokers, according to market sources.

LNG throughput, however, was up 2.6%.

Iron ore and scrap throughput fell 21.6% as "steel factories that use the port of Rotterdam for the supply of ore are producing much less than usual," the port said. "Demand for steel fell sharply from March onwards as a result of production stoppages in the automotive industry and construction."

Coal volumes recorded a drop of 34% as "more gas and less coal was used for power production. In addition, favourable weather conditions meant that there was an increase in the available wind energy, reducing the need to switch to coal-fired power stations."

Biomass throughput more than doubled "due to the continued rise in co-firing in power stations."

Bunkerworld .,
24th July 2020 08:03 GMT