Port of Rotterdam sees 9.1% drop in cargo volumes in H1 2020

The Port of Rotterdam reported a 9.1% drop in cargo throughput in the first half of 2020 with volumes hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The port handled 218.9m tonnes of cargo in the first half of 2020 down some 9.1% on a record throughput in the same period in 2019.

Particularly hit were dry bulk volumes which dropped 19% in H1 2020 to 30.8m tonnes. The drop in volumes was driven by a 22% fall in throughput for iron ore and scrap and 34% for coal.

“The steel factories that use the port of Rotterdam for the supply of ore are producing much less than usual. Demand for steel fell sharply from March onwards as a result of production stoppages in the automotive industry and construction,” the port commented.

In terms of liquid bulk volumes dropped by 10m tonnes to 99.8m tonnes in H1 2020, more than a 9% fall year-on-year. The mineral oil products sector, mainly fuel oil, saw the largest drop of 22% in the first half of year.

In terms of containers volumes were down 7% in teu terms and 3% in cargo volume terms in the first half of the year. “Shipping companies cancelled up to 20% of all their services in May and June. The decline in throughput was nevertheless less pronounced due to the increased call sizes of vessels calling at Rotterdam,” the port said.

Meanwhile breakbulk fell by 11% in the first half year, and ro-ro throughput was 12% lower.

Allard Castelein, ceo of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said:“The negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is being felt worldwide. 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. On the positive side, the throughput volumes in the second quarter turned out to be better than initially expected.”

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