Rotterdam was by far the busiest freight port in Europe in 2018, new data has shown, handling more than twice as much freight as its nearest competitor.
According to Eurostat data, Rotterdam handled 441 million tonnes of freight in 2018, more than twice that of Antwerp (212 million tonnes) and almost four times as much as Hamburg (118 million tonnes).
Of the top ten freight ports in the EU, five are located on the North Sea, while five are situated in the Mediterranean, according to Eurostat.
In 2018, ports in the EU handled 3.6 billion tonnes of freight.
According to the latest quarterly figures, in the second quarter of 2019, EU ports handled 919 million tonnes of freight, an increase of close to 4% compared to the same quarter the previous year.
However, this figure is likely to be repeated this year, Eurostat said, noting,
'A slowdown in economic activity due to the effects of coronavirus could have an impact on international trade, and in particular on maritime freight.'
More than two thirds of the freight handled at Rotterdam was inwards transport, underlining the importance of the port as a central hub for import to the EU.
In addition, almost half the freight handled at Rotterdam was liquid bulk cargo.
In contrast, Antwerp and Hamburg mainly handled container freight, with large containers accounting for 51% of the freight handled in Antwerp and 61% in Hamburg, according to Eurostat.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.