The Port of Rotterdam boosted container traffic 6 percent in 2011 but Europe’s largest port forecast the eurozone sovereign debt crisis will restrain growth next year before shipping demand recovers in 2012.
The box volume growth to 11.9 million 20 foot equivalent units marked a slowdown from the 11 percent increase the Dutch port reported in 2010, when container traffic reached 11.1 million TEUs.
Rotterdam boosted overall cargo volume 0.8 percent to a record 433 million metric tons as Europe’s economic woes restrained business in the second half of the year.
“We are recording growth for the ninth time in 10 years in spite of the disappointing economy and the fall in growth of throughput since November,” said Hans Smits, chief executive of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “We expect to maintain the current level next year.
“In the second half of the year, I expect that we will have put the European confidence crisis behind us. … We also expect reasonable growth as from 2013.”
Coal shipments in 2011 increased 12 percent to 27 million tons but ore and scrap traffic fell 6 percent to 38 million tons.
Crude oil, Rotterdam’s biggest cargo category, declined 7.9 percent to 91.6 million tons.
Roll on/ roll off traffic, almost entirely with the UK, was up just 2.8 percent at 8.6 million tons, and other general cargo rose 9 percent to 14.5 million tons.
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