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  • Port of Rotterdam volumes down by 6.9% to 436.8 million tonnes in 2020
  • 2021 February 19 15:18

    Port of Rotterdam volumes down by 6.9% to 436.8 million tonnes in 2020

    Goods volumes in the port of Rotterdam recovered in the second half year, limiting the decline in annual volume last year to 6.9% by comparison with the previous year, according to the company's release. The strong operating result has put the Port of Rotterdam Authority in a good position to implement an ambitious investment agenda in the years to come.

    The Port of Rotterdam Authority's financial results were better than in 2019, mainly due to one-off income items and cost savings. The operating result before interest, depreciation and taxes was € 477.5 million (2019: € 433.4 million) and the net result was € 351.7 million (2019: € 238.9 million).

    The volume of goods throughput in 2020 in the port of Rotterdam was 436.8 million tonnes. Rotterdam therefore continues to be the largest port in Europe by far. During the first half year, total throughput fell by 9.1%. However, in the second half year, that fall was 4.6% by comparison with the same period last year. Consequently, the decrease for 2020 as a whole was limited to 6.9%.

    The changes in volume were largely attributable to the corona recession. Above-average volume decreases were seen in iron ore (-24.5%), coal (-22.8%), crude oil (-10.2%) and mineral oil products (-11.9%). The decline in containers was limited (-1.2% in tonnes, -3.2% in TEUs). Rises were seen in the throughput of agribulk (+4.8%) and biomass (+108.3%).

    Dry bulk throughput in 2020 (63.8 million tonnes) fell sharply by comparison with 2019 (74.5 million tonnes). Incoming iron ore and cokes were down, mainly due to the major decline in German steel production. The throughput of energy coal was lower than in 2019.

    Its share in electricity production, which had already dropped as a result of the pandemic, fell off even more due to strong competition from solar, gas and record wind production. A coal-fired power station on the Maasvlakte was also shut down. A positive exception was the rise in the throughput of biomass, more of which was used in the Amer9 power station in Geertruidenberg.

    The throughput of liquid bulk was 192.0 million tonnes (2019: 211.2 million tonnes). The throughput of crude oil in Rotterdam declined due to less demand for oil products.

    Container throughput volumes in the second half of 2020 were higher than in 2019 (76.4 million tonnes as opposed to 75.7 million tonnes).

    The Port of Rotterdam Authority's financial results were better than in 2019. Contract revenue increased. That led to an operating result before interest, depreciation and taxes of € 477.5 million (2019: € 433.4 million).

    The net result was € 351.7 million (2019: € 238.9 million). In addition to the one-off effects in the revenue from site rental, this result was also affected to a major extent by the fact that the planned reduction of the rate for corporation tax to 21.7% did not go ahead (remaining at 25%).

    Due to its healthy financial position, the Port Authority is still able to make investments in improving the port infrastructure and making an impact on society as a whole. Gross investments, including participating interests, amounted to € 265.8 million (2019: € 338.3 million).

    The Port Authority proposes to pay € 120.5 million in dividend for 2022 to the shareholders, the City of Rotterdam and the Dutch State, with € 78.7 million being paid to the city and € 41.8 million to the State.

    A return to pre-COVID in 2021 is unlikely given the subdued outlook for economic recovery.

    Allard Castelein: 'The day-to-day mindset of the business community in the port of Rotterdam when it comes to maintaining our strong competitive position and leading role means we can be confident about the future of the port. This is where the money for tomorrow will be earned, which is why the Port Authority itself is expecting to invest around € 1.5 billion in the next five years in the energy transition, digitalisation and infrastructure. And so we are the driving force behind employment, income and prosperity for the Netherlands. By making strong decisions and with the determined efforts of local, regional and national authorities, it will be possible to make the most of the potential created by the engine room of Rotterdam and to further the earning capacity of the Netherlands.'

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