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Rotterdam losing race for container traffic to Antwerp

Staff Writer |
Rotterdam appears to be losing the race for container traffic to its main rival the Belgian port of Antwerp, according to a report in the Financieele Dagblad.

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Container throughput has edged up just 4.2% in Rotterdam since it completed the €3bn Maasvlakte II expansion programme in 2012 which increased capacity by 40% and added two container terminals.

In Antwerp, container movements increased by 16% in the same period, the paper said. Contrary to its own expectations, Rotterdam has lost market share in the vital container trade.

The port had projected 17 mllion TEUs (standard 20-foot container units) in 2014. But 2016 container throughput is likely to work out at 12.4 million TEUs, an increase of only 500,000 TEUs since 2012.

This is because container traffic has failed to develop as planned, the paper said. Chinese exports have fallen off with the result that global container traffic is increasing at only 1% to 2% a year.

Allard Castelein, director of Rotterdam port authority, told the FD the delayed opening of the two new container terminals APM and RWG contributed to the port’s sluggish growth.

Their operators claim important software was not available on time for the fully automated terminals.

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