Rotterdam, Antwerpen and Hamburg
The Netherlands has remained the largest maritime freight transport country in Europe since 2010. At 543 million tonnes, the volume of seaborne goods handled in Dutch ports in 2012 represented 14.6 % of the EU-28 total.
The Netherlands was followed by the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy, with shares of 13.4 % and 12.8 %, respectively. Spain remained the fourth largest and France the fifth largest EU maritime freight transport country in 2012. Ports in the candidate country Turkey handled 375 million tonnes of goods in 2012, placing it between Spain and France in terms of total volume of seaborne goods.
Inward movement of goods to the EU-28 countries decreased by 2.3 % in 2012 and accounted for about 61 % of the total tonnage of goods handled in EU-28 ports. Much of this inward tonnage is made up of considerable inward volumes of liquid bulk goods, such as crude oil and oil products.
In general, more seaborne goods are unloaded than loaded in the majority of EU countries. Cyprus had the highest share of total tonnage unloaded in 2012, followed by Malta and the Netherlands. However, for Romania and Bulgaria (agricultural products), the three Baltic countries (oil products) and the EEA country Norway (crude oil), outward movement of goods prevailed.
Liquid bulk goods accounted for 39 % of the total tonnage of cargo handled in the main EU-28 ports in 2012, followed by dry bulk goods, containerised goods and Ro-Ro mobile units. The largest tonnage of liquid bulk goods was handled in Dutch ports (274 million tonnes), followed by the UK (211 million tonnes) and Italy (196 million tonnes). Estonia recorded the highest share of liquid bulk goods as a percentage of the total tonnage handled in its main ports (65 %), reflecting large volumes of outward movements of oil products from Russia. Dutch ports’ handling of dry bulk goods was by far the largest in the EU in 2012 (131 million tonnes), but lower than the candidate country Turkey (148 million tonnes).
Container transport was the dominant type of cargo in Germany (44 %) and Belgium (42 %), but the largest volumes of goods in containers were handled in Spain (133 million tonnes) and Germany (128 million tonnes). The share of Ro-Ro units in the total tonnage of goods was highest for Denmark and Sweden (28 % and 27 %, respectively). n tonnage terms, the United Kingdom (94 million tonnes) and Italy (86 million tonnes) had the largest quantities of goods transported on Ro-Ro mobile units in 2012.
Rotterdam, Antwerpen and Hamburg, all located on the North Sea coast, consolidated their positions as Europe’s top three ports in 2012, both for the gross weight of goods and the volume of containers handled.
Source: Port of Rotterdam