Rotterdam port forecasts downturn

Rotterdam port, one of the biggest ports in the world, expects a ‘very sharp downturn’ in throughput this year, port president Hans Smits said on Tuesday.

Smits said at the presentation of the port’s 2008 financial results that he expected a fall-off in shipments in the first half of 2009, bringing the full year downturn to between 5% and 8%. Over the final months of 2008, shipments have been down 7.7% a month, he said.
Nevertheless, Rotterdam still booked full year throughput of 420 million tonnes, a 2.7% increase on 2007. Container shipments booked the lowest turnover growth at just 1% percent.
‘It would be good if we could keep the 400 million tonnes every year,’ Smit said.
The port offers direct employment to some 70,000 people. The decline in shipments will not affect the port’s planned €4bn investment programme, which includes an entirely new port area known as the Maasvlakte 2. ‘Our competitive position remains intact,’ Smit said.

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