Container traffic at the Port of Rotterdam has reached a record level this year and is expected to be high again in 2022, Europe's largest sea port has announced.
The port said that it had received 15 million containers this year up until Wednesday (22 December), marking the first time a European port had reached that level.
Container freight, measured in the equivalent of twenty-foot long containers (TEU), has increased at least 5% in 2021 from last year, when transport was heavily disrupted for months during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of containers handled in Rotterdam dropped 3% in 2020, following the record of 14.8 million TEU set in 2019.
"We expect Rotterdam's container terminals to remain busy in 2022", the port's commercial director, Emile Hoogsteden said.
"The international fleet of container ships and terminal capacity are not growing enough to meet demand."
Rotterdam received its first container in 1966, and reached the level of 1 million TEU for the first time in 1974. Traffic increased to 5 million containers in 1997 and doubled to 10 million a year in the decade that followed.
Hoogsteden added, "The Port Authority will continue to emphasise and encourage the importance of digitisation, cooperation and data sharing to provide a better response to the global pressure on the logistics chain - now and in the future."
Freight volumes in the port of Rotterdam increased 15% on a yearly basis in the third quarter of this year as international trade continued to recover from its COVID-19 slump.