Exports from the Port of Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, increased by five per cent to 113 million tonnes last year compared to 2008. However, imports at the port shrank by 13 per cent to 272 million tonnes, according to a company statement.
Overall, goods throughput at the port fell to 385 million tonnes, down 8.5 per cent on 2008. Bulk throughput was 29 per cent down on the previous year, while general cargo fell by nine per cent. There was less incoming and outgoing trade in agribulk (-22 per cent), ores and scrap (-47 per cent), coal (-12 per cent), other dry bulk (-13 per cent), crude oil (-6 per cent), other liquid bulk (-16 per cent), roll on/roll off (-11 per cent), other general cargo (-16 per cent) and containers (-6 per cent), the statement said.
Only the handling of mineral oil products showed a positive trend (23 per cent), actually achieving the biggest absolute increase (13 million tonnes) ever.
According to Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: "Considering the circumstances, we cannot be dissatisfied. After hitting rock bottom in the second quarter, throughput has been improving slightly every month and virtually all the investments are going ahead. Many of our clients are having a difficult time and that will not be much different in 2010. The best medicine for this is growth, partly through an increase in our market shares. We therefore intend to continue with our active commercial policy. As a result of this, among other things, I hope we will be able to break through the 400 million tonne-barrier again next year. That means growth in throughput considerably more than three per cent."
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