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Port of Rotterdam breaks all records in 2007

Europe's largest freight terminal smashed through the 400 million tonne mark last year.
Port of Rotterdam smashed through the 400 million tonne barrier in 2007.
Port of Rotterdam smashed through the 400 million tonne barrier in 2007.

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In 2007, the Port of Rotterdam became the first European port to break through the barrier of 400 million tonnes cargo throughput. 406 million tonnes were loaded and unloaded, an increase of 6.4% on 2006.

"With regard to both quantity and quality, 2007 was an unprecedented success. Expectations concerning throughput were well exceeded," said Port of Rotterdam CEO Hans Smits.

Buoyed by strong consumer demand for goods from China, imports at Europe's largest freight terminal increased by 4% to 300 million tonnes, while exports also rose by almost 14% to 107 million tonnes. Positive developments were seen in the throughput of mineral oil products (+24%), roll on/roll off (+24%) and containers (+10%).

For the first time more tonnes of container cargo - 105 million - were transhipped than crude oil. In terms of units, Rotterdam was the first European port to pass the milestone of 10 million TEU, handling 10.8 million containers, up 12%. Records were broken across six main sectors, including mineral oil products, coal, containers, ro/ro, dry bulk and liquid bulk.

"I would like to mention the refinery sector, Shell, the Gatel LNG terminal, and the container terminals Euromax and Rotterdam World Gateway. These together accounted for almost three billion euro," added Smits.

Imports of oil products grew by 13% to 34 million tonnes and exports by 43% to 23 million tonnes. In total, a record volume of 57 million tonnes was handled, representing growth of 24% for the year.

The container terminals at Rotterdam spent the year working close to the limits of their capacity. This meant the growth was only made possible due to an improvement in productivity, including restrictions on the time spent in port by containers.

"The Port of Rotterdam is developing above the highest long-term growth scenario, but within the ‘old' physical boundaries," said Smits.

Despite working so close to capacity, the prospects for the Port of Rotterdam remain positive. The investment boom will continue and in 2008 throughput is expected to increase by 4% to at least 420 million tonnes. "Within this framework, container throughput will grow by around 10%," he added.

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