The port of Rotterdam will grow container traffic faster than its north European rivals over the next six years and its terminals will achieve higher utilization rates, according to a report by McKinsey.
Europe’s largest container port will extend its lead in the Le Havre-Hamburg port range due to a combination of the consolidation of ocean carriers, the increasing size of ships and the presence of modern, easily accessible deep draft terminals, the consultants said.
Rotterdam’s container traffic will reach 17 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2017 in a base case scenario of terminals working at average 78 percent utilization rate. Traffic totaled a record 11.9 million TEUs in 2011, an increase of 6 percent on the previous year.
If the port achieves 68 percent terminal utilization, Rotterdam will handle 15 million TEUs in 2017. The port will handle 19 million TEUs if terminal utilization reaches 89 percent.
Rotterdam will account for 45 percent of all extra capacity coming on stream in the North West European port range over the next six years. The port’s share of the Le Havre-Hamburg range container traffic likely will increase to between 29 and 30 percent, from about 27.5 percent.
The Rotterdam port authority commissioned the report to assess the impact of adding 8 million TEUs of additional capacity amid uncertainty over the global economy and respond to concerns expressed by ECT, the leading container stevedore, about a glut of capacity after 2014 when two new terminals come on stream.
ECT is seeking $1.2 billion damages from the port authority for allegedly failing to honor agreements and favoring its rivals in awarding concessions for new terminals. ECT, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings, handles around 60 percent of Rotterdam’s container traffic.
The port authority awarded contracts to APM Terminals and the DP World-led Rotterdam World Gateway consortium to build one terminal each with a combined annual capacity of around 8 million TEUs on Maasvlakte 2, a strip of land reclaimed from the North Sea.
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