The port of Rotterdam handled 115.8 million tonnes of cargo in the first quarter of 2021, three per cent more than the same period last year. According to the Port of Rotterdam Authority, this is ‘a new step in its recovery from the decrease in throughput in 2020 as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic’.

Container throughput increased by 4.5 per cent in volume, but showed a decrease of 0.7 per cent in weight. It is likely that the throughput of empty containers, of which China has a shortage, grew strongly.


Biomass and coal did well with increases of almost 37 per cent and over 25 per cent, respectively. LNG, the handling of which increased strongly over the past few years, experienced a sharp drop of almost 27 per cent. The sectors agribulk (-8.6 per cent) and other wet bulk (-2.8 per cent) also suffered a setback. However, the handling of bunker oil increased considerably. Two fully loaded supertankers with fuel oil went to Singapore.

Also read: Port of Rotterdam sees 2020 throughput fall by 6.9 per cent

The throughput of rolling cargo (ro/ro) unexpectedly increased by more than three per cent. The port authority calls this ‘remarkable’ against the background of the post-Brexit situation.

Suez blockage

CEO Allard Castelein speaks of a ‘positive picture’. According to him, the main challenge at the moment is handling the aftermath of the Suez blockage in terms of logistics. ‘The Port of Rotterdam Authority is doing its utmost to support its clients – among other things by offering real-time surveys of ETAs at all the port’s deepsea terminals.’

Also read: ECT: Suez Canal blockage could cause problems for months to come

This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.