Namely, the port experienced a reduction in the transhipment of coal and mineral oil products.

  • Dry Bulk: 1.4% decrease in comparison to last year. 

A total of 55.9 million tonnes of dry bulk was transhipped up to the end of the third quarter.

Iron ore transhipment rose by 2% to the end of the third quarter. Germany's faulted economy led to less transhipment in recent months. Steel companies were hesitant about replenishing stocks. The main reason for this is the downturn in car production.

Transhipment of energy coal crucially reduced after a strong start in 2019, caused by the low price of coal at the time. This downturn was due to the sharply declining share of coal and lignite in German power generation and due to maintenance work at the Maasvlakte power stations.

Biomass experienced a steady development of 84%, as a result of increased co-firing in coal-fired power stations.

Transhipment of agricultural bulk remained virtually unchanged from last year.

  • Liquid bulk: 159.5 million tonnes, equal to last year.

The transhipment of crude oil increase by 2.8%. There was more supply because the refineries in Rotterdam and Antwerp - which are supplied through Rotterdam - increased production after the investments made in plants over recent years.

Mineral oil products segment declined by more than 10%. This is due to the reduction of global trade in fuel oil, a trend that has been ongoing for a number of years. Within the mineral oil products sector, a slight increase could be seen in the transhipment of other fuels, such as diesel.

LNG increased by 46% due to higher European consumption of gas produced in the Atlantic region. Previously, this gas was often sold in Asia.

In the remaining liquid bulk category, more than 11% more was handled to the end of the third quarter. This rise was predominantly attributable to biofuels.

  • Containers - break bulk

The transhipment of containers was increased by 3.3% concerning tonnes, in comparison to 2018. This increase began in the first months of 2019, steadily rising in the third quarter. This was caused by an overall slowdown in the growth of global trade and a fall in short sea volume of freight being shipped to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Other breakbulk rose by 4.4% following the market's demand on aluminium, steel and paper, but heavy cargo and special projects such as hulls for inland vessels also resulted in more tonnes.

Ro-ros were heavily impacted by Brexit, and the port's volumes declined in the timeframe of April-August. Yet, September showed an increase.

Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO commented

In the third quarter we again saw healthy growth in terms of containers, one of the Port Authority’s strategic spearheads. What is worrying, however, is that the relationship between the world’s major trading blocs remains strained, as does the continuing uncertainty about the introduction of trade tariffs after Brexit.