According to the port's statement, the freight throughput was at 469.4 million tonnes in 2019, fractionally higher than in 2018, 469 million tonnes.

Investments by the Port of Rotterdam Authority were again at a high level, with gross investments including participation amounting to €338.3 million. The net result excluding taxes amounted to €241 million.

  • Liquid Bulk

Total throughput of liquid bulk in 2019 reached the 211.2 million tonnes, presenting a stability in comparison to 2018(211.8 million tonnes). Crude oil throughput exceeded 100 million tonnes for a fifth year in a row and rose by 3.9%, followed by crude oil stocks which have also grown in recent months.

The throughput of mineral oil products decreased as a result of lower imports and exports of fuel oil. This downward trend over the past few years intensified in 2019 as a result of tightened global emission regulations for shipping that came into effect on 1 January 2020.

The LNG increase was mainly due to the import of a greater proportion of the gas produced around the Atlantic ocean into Europe, instead of being exported to Asia. The increase in other liquid bulk is accounted for by the import and export of biofuels, particularly biodiesel.

  • Dry bulk

Dry bulk throughput presented a decline by 4% to 74.5 million tonnes, in comparison to 2018's 77.6 million tonnes, while coal throughput also decreased by -14.8%.

Throughput of coking coal also came under pressure as a consequence of declining steel production in Germany. The annual iron ore and scrap throughput remained almost the same as in 2018. Biomass throughput increased by 62.8%, mainly due to the import of wood pellets for co-firing in coal-fired power plants.

  • Containers

The container market showed a good start in the first six months of 2019, as container throughput measured in tonnes grew by 2.5%. Measured in TEUs, the standard unit for containers, the increase was 2.1% and the annual total was 14.8 million TEUs.

Economic growth in the EU declined somewhat, particularly as a consequence of reduced industrial production in Germany. Moreover, as a consequence of declining production and decreased growth in world trade, shipments from Asia were cancelled in November and December.

The shortsea segment also experienced the effects of lower economic growth as well as competition with other ports.

  • Roll on/roll off and other breakbulk

RoRo transhipment rose slightly in 2019 by 0.8%, despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. There were, however, significant fluctuations throughout the year, with throughput peaks as a result of stock build-up in the run-up to the proposed Brexit dates of 31 March and 31 October.

  • Energy transition

Companies signed an agreement to launch and develop the Porthos project which is about the capture, transport and storage of CO₂. Also, project has been made with the heat network pipeline to Westland and The Hague; Black Bear Carbon has established a new production location to produce colourings from old tyres; uRecycle® has started construction of a new factory for both the recycling and reuse of batteries; the largest wind turbine on Maasvlakte has become operational and the shore power trial for coasters on Parkkade.

  • Digitalization
  1. Shell and Maersk are launching customers of PortXchange, a separate company established to use the Pronto app to make port calls more efficient and help clients reduce their emissions
  2. Track & Trace of containers via the new Boxinsider app
  3. PortBase ensures smooth digital preannouncement of customs declarations, also after Brexit
  4. Digital declarations of port dues via the PortAbillity app
  5. Improved efficiency from electronic bunkering notifications via the TimeToBunker App

Concluding, following the port's achievements throughout 2019, Allard Castelein, the Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO commented that

The Port of Rotterdam has matched the transhipment volume recorded in 2018. Equally crucial for the future is that industry succeeds in accelerating the energy transition so that the Port of Rotterdam can make a real impact towards achieving the Dutch climate objectives. To help make this happen we need a decisive and proactive government that works together with the business community.