The coronavirus pandemic led to highly exceptional conditions in the first quarter of 2020, with severe worldwide disruption of production processes and logistical chains
Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority:
“We are facing unprecedented disruptions and the port of Rotterdam, as a vital
process, intends to continue contributing to society. The impact of a decline
in demand due to the corona crisis will become clear from April onwards. A 10
to 20% drop in throughput volume on an annual basis would seem to be very
likely. This will depend on how long the measures remain in place and on how
quickly production and world trade recover”.
There were also positive notes during the first quarter.
Container throughput more or less matched the level in the same period last
year. Biomass throughput also continued to grow. In the meantime, major
investment projects are continuing as planned. They include the construction of
the Container Exchange Route, the Theemsweg Route and port infrastructure for
the production location of smoothie-maker Innocent.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Harbour Master division
and all the companies operating in the port industrial complex have the same
two priorities: people's health and maintaining port operations. In order to
keep Dutch society running, the Dutch government has identified the processes
that are vital to achieve these priorities. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and
the port business community are extremely grateful to the government in this
respect. Shipping handling, the related logistical processes and industrial
production are of vital importance. If any single link in this chain fails, the
result will be congestion in the port and in the surrounding infrastructure, as
well as scarcity on the market, leading to the disruption of industrial
production, logistics and society as a whole.
In the first three months of 2020, throughput in the port of
Rotterdam amounted to 112.4 million tonnes. That is 9.3% less than in the first
quarter of 2019.
Falling throughput was seen mainly in the coal, crude oil
and oil products segments. There was an increase in the throughput of iron ore,
biomass, LNG and other liquid bulk.