Container throughput falls sharply, LNG throughput skyrockets in Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam Authority (HbR) announced Friday, July 22, that container throughput took a hefty hit in the first half of 2022. This even though 0.8% more was transshipped compared to 2021.

One of the causes is the persistent problems in container shipping, causing many ships to divert to smaller ports. In total the port of Rotterdam received 9% fewer deep-sea ships in the first half of 2022. However, the number of containers per call increased by 18.5%.

But an even more important cause is that due to the current sanctions the container transport to and from Russia has come to a standstill. As a result, the throughput decreased by 4.4%, which is 7.3 million TEU.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has a great impact on the port of Rotterdam. As an alternative to less gas imports, more coal and LNG is being imported and stored. And even though oil products decreased more crude oil was stored.

Oil products fell by 9.4% but fuel alternatives such as LNG increased by 50%.

Agribulk and iron ore were also transshipped less compared to the same period in 2021.

Remarkably, however, the volume of liquid bulk in the first 6 months of 2022 increased even though European refineries no longer use Russian oil. According to HbR, the oil is now transported via small tankers across the Baltic Sea to Rotterdam, where it is pumped into supertankers that ultimately transport it to Asia.

Europe relies heavily on Russian energy, and the current situation makes Europe very vulnerable. Because of this, more companies are making larger investments in the energy transition in Rotterdam which is good news. Shell’s hydrogen plant and Neste’s bio refinery are 2 big projects that have been announced.

Other liquid bulk goods such as chemicals also increased by 22.5%, according to the Port Authority, because of the faltering transport chains trying to secure sufficient raw materials.

The increase in gas prices caused many electricity producers to switch from gas to coal. This caused a growth of almost 30% in coal transshipment. And caused dry bulk to increase by 4.4% in Rotterdam.

Despite the decrease in container traffic due to the high prices, dry bulk did increase by 30% in Rotterdam. This is mainly because cargo, which can also be transported loose, is more often transported this way instead of in a container.

Due to the recovery of trade with the United Kingdom, Ro/Ro traffic increased by 16.8%. And the other general cargo also grew by 17.7%, mainly due to the import of steel and other metals.