Monday 18 December 2017

Netherlands holds onto position as EU's top sea freight country

The Netherlands is Europe's top sea freight country, figures from the EU's official statistics body Eurostat show
The Netherlands is Europe's top sea freight country, figures from the EU's official statistics body Eurostat show
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The Netherlands is Europe's top sea freight country, figures from the EU's official statistics body Eurostat show.

Rotterdam in the west of the Netherlands is far and away Europe's premier port, with 406.5m tonnes of cargo (gross weight) passing through - inwards and outwards - in 2013.

That's almost three times as much as passed through the second-biggest port, Antwerp in Belgium.

Gross weight includes the packaging and containers in which goods are stored.

The figures show that the Netherlands had 14.8pc of the volume of seaborne freight in 2013, with Amsterdam ranked fourth in terms of sea freight volumes.

Most European countries ship more goods in than they do out.

In 2013 both Malta and the Netherlands recorded more than 70pc of their total tonnage as inward movements.

In contrast, outward movements were high as a percentage of the total in Romania and Bulgaria.

The main regions from which EU countries received seaborne freight were, in order, the Baltic Sea region of Russia, Brazil, the east coast of the US, Norway, the Black Sea region of Russia, China, Turkey and Egypt.

The largest outward flow was from the EU to the east coast of the US.

Dublin Port doesn't feature in the top 20 but should be able to move up the list now that it has completed work on developing the Alexandra Quay container terminal following a €35m investment.

Dublin and Foynes handled between 10 and 20m tonnes, while Cork handled between five and 10m.

The new terminal in Dublin will be able to cater for an additional 80,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year, bringing its total capacity to over 400,000 TEU per annum.

In 2012 the Government published a masterplan for the port, in the hope of enabling it to deal with 60m tonnes of goods by 2040.

If it were dealing with that amount of seaborne goods (in gross weight terms) at the time of the Eurostat survey Dublin would have placed tenth on the list, which includes ports in Iceland, Norway, Turkey and Montenegro as well as the EU.

Most of the goods coming into Europe were liquid-bulk goods - a category that includes oil products.

Estonia had the biggest share (almost two-thirds) of liquid bulk goods as a percentage of the total tonnage handled in its main ports, reflecting large volumes of oil products moved out to the US.

Roll-on, roll-off goods such as cars and trucks ranked highly as a percentage of the goods handled in Ireland, making up more than a quarter of the seaborne freight coming through.

Eurostat said the way a country's port infrastructure is divided will determine whether it appears on the list of the top 20 ports. It said Denmark had a large number of medium-sized ports but none was big enough to make the top 20.

Irish Independent

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