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Thursday, 16 April 2015

First quarter results spur confidence for port growth in 2015

Strong first quarter volumes and growth reported by port authorities have given a boost to expectations for performance in 2015 from the sector.

The Port of Antwerp was amongst those to report growth for the first three months of the year with Antwerp handling 5.9% more freight volume year-on-year, equivalent to 51 million tonnes. Container volume at Antwerp was particularly strong increasing by 8.5% during the first quarter, representing 2.35 million TEU.

Despite this rise, the number of ships calling at Antwerp was only 3,408, a decline of 1% compared with the same period the previous year and indicative of the trend towards larger ships.

With many shipping lines taking delivery of new fleets of Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCV) either this year or next there is expected to be a boost in volumes for larger hub ports.

The  Port of Rotterdam also posted strong growth in Q1 driven by increased vessel size coupled with better automation. Throughput at the port was up 7.2% year on year  and container throughput by TEU rose 7.6%.

‘The port had a very strong first quarter. The positive trend in the handling of mineral oil products and LNG is striking. After declining last year, oil products are now experiencing a strong recovery. LNG throughput is even growing in triple figures and is really getting into its stride. Container throughput is also increasing sharply. Last year Rotterdam grew faster in this sector than rival ports. An increase of almost 8% combined with two new terminals on Maasvlakte 2 is generating a lot of confidence in the development of this sector in the coming years," Allard Castelein, chief executive of the Port of Rotterdam Authority said.

Smaller ports have also fared well so far in 2015 however with medium sized facilities such as Taganrog Port in Russia, Ireland’s Dublin Port and the port of Gdansk in Poland also reporting strong growth figures for Q1. The ports saw freight volumes rise 19.5% and 5.3% and 3.4% respectively in the first quarter.

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