Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, said total cargo volume hit a record high in 2010, buoyed by record container traffic driven by surging world trade and a booming German economy.
Container traffic jumped 14 percent to 11.1 million TEUs from 9.8 million TEUs in 2009 to overtake the previous record of 10.8 million TEUs in 2008.
Total throughput increased 11.1 percent to 430 million metric tons from 387 million tons a year ago to beat the record 421 million tons handled in 2008.
“This result is above expectations. Record throughput by the port while the Port of Rotterdam [Authority] invested a record sum of $602 million,” said Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
“This year throughput was particularly stimulated by the 15 percent growth in world trade and the flourishing German economy.”
“I am cautiously optimistic about throughput, which I expect to grow by 2 to 3 percent to around 440 million tons (in 2011),” Smits said.
The port said container traffic returned to “normal” growth in 2010. Rotterdam expanded its market share on the key Asia-Europe liner trade as carriers introduce increasingly large container ships that are able to call more easily at Rotterdam than at competing ports.
Roll on-roll off traffic grew 5.4 percent to 16.9 million tons, but remains six percent below 2008 levels because of economic weakness in the UK, Rotterdam’s main market for this cargo sector.
Breakbulk and conventional cargo rose 15.9 percent to almost 7 million tons, with gains in steel and project cargo, paper and wood products, metals, automobiles and fruit.
Dry bulk cargo surged almost 28 percent to 85 million tons led by a 71 percent increase in iron ore and scrap to nearly 40 million tons.
Liquid bulk shipments, including crude oil, rose just under 6 percent to 209 million tons.
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