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Coal throughput at Rotterdam rises in 2015

Published by
World Coal,

Coal throughput at Port of Rotterdam rose 1% in 2015 t despite a fall in demand for thermal coal from Germany. According to official figures, 30.7 million t of coal was transported through the port last year.

Demand for thermal coal was boosted by the commissioning of two new high-efficiency coal-fired power plants by Uniper (formerly E.ON Benelux) and Engie (formerly GDF Suez) on the Maasvlakte. Both plants boast efficiency of 46% and are carbon capture and storage ready. They bring the total number of coal-fired plants on the Maasvlakte to three. About 60% of coal handling through Rotterdam is thermal coal.

This offset a fall in the need for coal from Germany on the back of higher renewables generation, particularly solar and wind generation.

On the metallurgical side, which accounts for the remaining 40% of coal handling through Rotterdam, throughput increased slightly. Volumes of other bulk materials fell, however, with throughput of ores and scrap falling by 0.6% and throughput of agricultural bulk down 3.7%. Handling of fly ash exports to the US rose, however.

Overall, the amount of dry bulk handling at Rotterdam in 2015 fell 1%.

The star performer in 2015, however, was oil with throughput of crude oil rising 8.1% to 103.1 million t. The supply and transport of oil products rose by 18% to 88.5 million, while LNG throughput rose 91.3% - albeit from a low base.

“Low oil prices result in high margins for the refineries, so they have large quantities shipped in for refining,” explained Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “This not applies to the refineries in Europe but also to those in Russia. The latter produce a relatively large amount of duel oil which is shipped to the Far East via Rotterdam.”

Looking ahead to 2016 and Castelein said the port aims to match 2015’s performance.

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