Container traffic in Rotterdam grew 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011 from a year ago, driven mainly by strong growth in trade with Asia and a recovery in intra-European shipments.
Europe's biggest port handled 2.9 million 20-foot equivalent units in the three months to March 31 compared with 2.68 million TEUs in the same period in 2010.
Total throughput was flat at just under 107 million metric tons as the growth in container volume was canceled out by a 1 percent fall in crude oil, an 18 percent slump in mineral oils and 2 percent drop in other liquid bulk cargoes.
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“As expected, the abundant growth is over,” apart from the striking performance of containers, said Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Hans Smits.
"The forecast for this year was and is an increase of about 2 percent," Smits said. "Taking into account traditional seasonal patterns, and on the basis of confidence on the part of producers and buyers, that is realistic."
The harsh Baltic winter hampered container traffic with Russia and due to rising fuel and ship charter costs a few services abandoned the longer Rotterdam route, the port said. "Nevertheless, Russia remains a growth market."
Roll-on, roll-off traffic, mostly focused on the UK market, increased by more than 300,000 tons in the quarter to 4.4 million tons.
Conventional and breakbulk cargo soared 35 percent, or 500,000 tons, to 1.9 million tons, due largely to increasing transshipment of steel.
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