The Port of Rotterdam expects significantly lower total material volume for the full year 2020 compared to 2019 due to uncertainty on the duration of the recession and when recovery will activate the economy.
Global recovery will depend on the second wave of COVID-19 infections that are emerging, therefore a restrained recovery of the economy is projected through 2020, the port authority said in a statement on Monday. The port’s volumes are not projected to drop further but full volume recovery is unlikely this year.
Allard Castelein, chief executive officer, Port of Rotterdam Authority, said COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy, so justifiably throughput volumes during H1 2020 were significantly lower than H1 2019. Castelein also expressed optimism that the second quarter throughput volumes were above initial projections.
The port reported 218.9mn mt of cargo, representing a 9.1pc decline in cargo throughput in H1 2020 compared to record volumes in the same period in 2019 because of the pandemic.
Dry bulk volumes, accounting for 14pc of the port’s output, were predominantly hit and declined by 19pc to 30.8mn mt in H1 2020 from H1 2019. The volume decline was led by a 22pc drop in scrap and iron ore throughput and a 34pc decline for coal volumes.
The steel mills that draw on the port of Rotterdam to provide ore have cut steel output significantly compared to typical production levels due to drastically lowered steel demand that began in March. Thereafter, the port noted, production shutdowns and cutbacks commenced in steel, automotive, and construction industries.
Container volumes declined by 3.3pc in cargo volume tonnage in H1 2020 and by 7pc in TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) terms, which equates to a decline of 2.5mn mt of cargo compared to the same period last year.
The decline was attributed to shippers canceling as much as 20pc of May and June provisions, according to the port. However, the decline in throughput was less evident because of the presence of raised vessel call sizes into Rotterdam.
Breakbulk declined by 11pc in H1 2020, and roll-on/roll-off throughput decreased by 12pc from H1 2019. Liquid bulk volumes declined by just over 9pc to 99.8mn mt during H1 2020 from the same period last year.
The crude oil products sector dropped by 4pc in H1 2020 while the throughput of other liquid bulk in the first half of 2020 was in step with H1 2019 levels. The drop in crude oil throughput was mainly due to falling demand and major refineries running at reduced capacity.