Rotterdam’s container traffic declined 4 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from a year earlier to 2.8 million 20-foot equivalent units as fewer Asian imports were shipped to Europe’s biggest container port.
But overall throughput rose 3 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to 110 million metric tons as higher crude oil and coal shipments outweighed double-digit declines in agribulk, iron ore and scrap and general cargo.
“The results are better than we expected at the end of last year,” said Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The authority had forecast a slight fall in traffic in the first six months followed by a recovery in the second half of the year.
Although the lower container figure was due to lower Asian imports, exports of loaded boxes from the Far East increased, resulting in few empty boxes being returned from Europe.
Rotterdam’s container traffic rose 6 percent in 2011 to a record 11.9 million TEUs, and total traffic edged up 1 percent to 434.6 million tons, also a record.
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