Rotterdam is freezing harbor dues for ships for the third year running in 2012, as it bids to boost its share of cargo in the fiercely competitive Le Havre-Hamburg port range.
A discount of 3 percent on all cargoes in 2011 will also be continued into 2012, the Port Authority announced. Europe’s biggest port said it is also ready to discount dues during the year, for the first time ever, in the event of a “serious” decline in one of its cargo sectors, including containers and break bulk shipments.
The Port Authority also announced an improved discount for ship-to-ship transshipment of deep-sea and feeder containers. Rotterdam introduced a “crisis” discount in 2010 and a “recovery” reduction in 2011 to stem potential loss of traffic to its main rivals, Antwerp and Hamburg.
“We are continuing the discount in order to stimulate volumes,” said Hans Smits, CEO of the Port Authority.
The discounts in 2010 and 2011 “have worked well for Rotterdam [and] I expect that this discount will have the same effect in 2012.”
Container lines will receive cash discounts for each transshipped box in 2012 replacing the current system, which involves a maximum level of due per call by a deep sea vessel. A deepsea shipping company will receive a discount of $1.35 per 20-foot equivalent unit and a feeder line will get a $2 break per TEU.
“This amounts to an average discount of 12 percent on the net port dues on transshipment containers for deep-sea, and 32 percent on the net port dues on transshipment containers for feeders,” the Port Authority said.
“I foresee that Rotterdam will increase its market share with these rates,” said Win van Sluis, chairman of Deltalinqs, the association of Rotterdam port and industrial companies.
Rotterdam’s cargo grew just 1.7 percent in the first nine months of 2011 from a year earlier to 327 million metric tons. Hamburg grew 11.6 percent to 99 million tons in the same period and Antwerp was up 7.5 percent to 142 million metric tons. In 2010, Rotterdam raised $371 million in dues from deep-sea ships and $17.6 million from inland vessels. Rents from port facilities totaled $338 million.
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