Throughput volumes for Europe's largest port of Rotterdam have risen 0.3% to 351 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2022, officials said on Friday, as strong rises in coal and LNG offset the loss of container traffic with Russia.
Such traffic, which had made up around 8% of Rotterdam's total in recent years, had "practically stopped", they said, while LNG and coal replaced Russian energy sources such as natural gas that would have come to Europe by pipeline.
"The total volume makes it seem as if it is business as usual in the port, but the big changes, especially with respect to LNG and coal, indicate that the energy landscape has changed dramatically," chief executive Allard Castelein said in a statement.
LNG throughput increased by 74% to 8.6 million tonnes, and coal throughput increased by 25% to 21.7 million tonnes, more than offsetting falls in throughput of iron ore and agricultural dry bulk products.
Castelein added, "With the high energy prices the energy-intensive chemical industry in particular is going through hard times. A faster energy transition makes us less dependent on geopolitical developments in the long term. In the short term, we have to do all we can to retain the chemical industry that is so important to our society."
In the container segment, the number of TEUs, the standard measure for shipping containers, fell by 4.4% to 10.9 million, and fell 8.6% by weight as more empty containers arrived.
'Container logistics is still hampered by disruptions as many vessels do not arrive on schedule,' the port said, adding that the volume decline was helping ease congestion.