Port of Rotterdam Says War and Economy Reshaped Business in 2022

Port of Rotterdam
Rotterdam reported a significant swing in its business in 2022 reflecting the war and the economy (file photo)

Published October 21, 2022 18:40 by

Maritime Administration

The Port of Rotterdam, providing fresh evidence of the toll the war in Ukraine is taking on the shipping industry, reported its nine-month results that highlight dramatic changes in its operations. The war and subsequent sanctions against Russia, changes in the energy market and the impact of slower consumer demand on container shipping all contributed to the changes the port is experiencing in 2022. Europe’s busiest port and one of the busiest in the world, Rotterdam has historically been a hub for transshipments as well as the energy industry.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority reports that while cargo volumes were largely unchanged year-on-year in the first nine months of 2022, there are some underlying major differences in the port’s traffic and operations. Furthermore, they note that with the war expected to continue and the current global economic outlook, conditions are not expected to improve in the near term.

“The total volume makes it seem like it is business as usual in the port, but the big changes, especially for LNG and coal, indicate that the energy landscape has changed dramatically,” said Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam. Authority. With the high energy prices, the energy-intensive chemical industry in particular is going through difficult times. A faster energy transition makes us less dependent on geopolitical developments in the long term. In the short term, we must do everything we can to maintain the chemical industry that is so important to our society.”

As a consequence of the sanctions, the port authority points out that container traffic between Russia and Rotterdam has almost stopped, compared to eight percent of the total traffic previously. Further partly affected by ships delayed due to global traffic congestion and terminal delays due to high capacity utilization, Rotterdam reports that it saw an overall decline of more than four percent in TEU or almost nine percent by weight.

The throughput of iron and scrap decreased sharply (-17.9 percent), as did the throughput of agricultural bulk (-14.8 percent). However, other bulk, such as raw materials and building materials, increased sharply (+22.6 percent) as well as sharp increases in both roll-on/roll-off traffic and other breakbulk (15 percent).

However, the biggest changes came in loads related to the energy markets. The volume of coal, for example, increased by almost a quarter, mainly as more coal was used in power plants. LNG volume growth was very strong (+73.8 percent), as imports from the US and other countries grew to replace Russian natural gas, which was previously routed to northwest Europe. Crude oil volumes have also increased by more than five percent.

Commenting on the outlook, the Port Authority noted the weaknesses in the macroeconomic climate along with the likelihood of continued war in Ukraine, inflation and the deteriorating economic climate. “Nevertheless, the Port of Rotterdam Authority expects transshipment volumes for 2022 to be at the same level as last year. Given the very challenging circumstances in almost all sectors, this would be a remarkable achievement for Rotterdam’s business world.”


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