Global tensions causing a decline in the port of Rotterdam’s throughput

Port of Rotterdam. Photo Credit: Aerovista Luchtfotografie /
Europe's busiest port, the Port of Rotterdam, saw a 1.4% decrease in throughput in Q1 2024, handling 110.1 million tons compared to 111.7 million tons in 2023. CEO Boudewijn Siemons noted declining energy costs impacted industrial sectors, although container throughput rose by 2%, suggesting a possible uptick in global trade.
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In the first quarter of 2024, the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest port, experienced a 1.4% year-on-year decline in total throughput, handling 110.1 million tons compared to 111.7 million tons in the same period in 2023. The decrease was primarily attributed to lower throughput of coal, crude oil, and oil products, reflecting limited imports of raw materials and exports of finished products.

Despite the overall decline, container throughput at the port saw a 2% increase to 3.3 million TEU, indicating a potential uptick in global trade. However, uncertainties remain due to increasing global tensions. Dry bulk throughput fell by 4.5%, mainly due to a significant decline in coal throughput, while iron ore imports increased alongside German steel production.

Liquid bulk throughput also recorded a 3.1% decline to 52.6 million tonnes, with lower throughput of crude oil and petroleum products, although LNG throughput increased by 3.6% to 9.1 million tons. In the general cargo market segment, including roll-on/roll-off and other general cargo, total throughput fell by 1.9% to 7.8 million tons, with RoRo throughput decreasing by 3.8% to 6.3 million tonnes while other general cargo volumes rose by 7.4% to 1.5 million tonnes.

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