THE port of Rotterdam handled a total of 232.8 million tonnes in the first six months of 2018 - 2.2 per cent less than in the same period last year.
Container throughput, one of the strategic priorities of the Port Authority, rose by 5.9 per cent (in tonnes, 6.2 per cent in TEU) by comparison with the first six months of 2017, including a new throughput record in May.
The market share of Rotterdam by comparison with the other ports in the Hamburg-Le Havre range increased from 30.9 per cent (Q1 2017) to 31.2 per cent (Q1 2018).
However, the rise in container handling did not offset the fall in the throughput of wet and dry bulk. The decline in bulk goods was mainly seen in the throughput of coal, crude oil and mineral oil products such as fuel oil, the port said.
The financial position of the Port Authority was stable in the first half of 2018. Revenue from port dues fell off slightly but rental and leasehold income from issued land increased slightly. The result before taxation remained virtually unchanged at EUR126.1 million (US$147.5 million).
Nevertheless, the net result was strongly influenced by a one-off gain as a result of the fiscal opening balance sheet, a consequence in turn of the Port Authority's tax liability. It does not provide the Port Authority with any additional cash or room for investment.
"On the contrary: the Port Authority did not have to pay corporation tax in the past but it is liable to pay corporation tax with retroactive effect from 2017 onwards. The only significance of the one-off 'paper' profit is that, in the future, the Port Authority will be required to pay less tax for a limited period of time," the port said in a statement.
On the environment, the Port Authority said that in order to fulfil the ambitions set out in the Climate Act, which was passed by the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament, a large number of measures have been identified at the Rotterdam-Moerdijk Industrial Table that could result in a reduction of carbon emissions by 10 million tonnes.
Looking ahead, the Port Authority cited import tariffs and trade quotas as obstacles to global trade and were therefore bad for the global economy.
"Relations between large trading blocks in the world are currently strained. In addition, it is uncertain whether negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom will lead to a new trade agreement after Brexit," the port said.
"Both developments are rendering the prospects for the further growth of world trade uncertain. The fluctuations in volume in the Port of Rotterdam would not, for the time being, seem to be caused by recent trade restrictions, the impact of which will be felt only after some time. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is continuing to monitor developments closely."