In 2014, Rotterdam became the first European since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, port to handle more than 3 million TEU (20-foot container units) going to or coming from China. Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein announced this during the first quarterly meeting of the Rotterdam Port Promotion Council (RPPC). At the meeting he analysed the throughput figures for 2014 and indicated trends for a large group of port entrepreneurs.
In 2008, Hamburg, in northern Germany, still handled the most ‘China containers’: 2.6 million against Rotterdam’s 2.2 million. The German port suffered greatly during the crisis of 2009, whereas Rotterdam’s throughput only declined moderately. Since then, Rotterdam has been the main European port for ‘China containers’, though the lead on Hamburg remains small. In 2013, Hamburg handled 2.3 million TEU; Rotterdam handled 2.4 million. Anticipating the definitive figures, the Port of Rotterdam Authority expects an increase of at least 10% over 2014.
The Chinese share of Rotterdam’s throughput will be significant and likely increase again in 2015. There are currently 18 container services per week between Chinese ports and Rotterdam (Port of Rotterdam Authority).