2014 marked the year in which Rotterdam became the first port in Europe to handle over 3 million TEUs (20-foot container units) headed to or coming in from China, Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO commented during the first Rotterdam Port Promotion Council (RPPC) quarterly meeting.


Image: Port of Rotterdam Authority/Freek van Arkel

Back in 2008, Germany’s Port of Hamburg still accounted for handling the most China containers with 2.6 million against Rotterdam’s 2.2 million.

The German port suffered greatly during the 2009 crisis, as commented by Castelein, in comparison to Rotterdam’s throughput which only demonstrated a moderate decline.

Since that time, Rotterdam has established itself as the main European port when regarding China containers, although the lead it has on Hamburg remains relatively small. Statistics show that in 2013, Hamburg accounted for handling approximately 2.3 million TEUs while Rotterdam handled 2.4 million. In anticipation of the definitive figures, the Port of Rotterdam Authority has commented that expectations are that there will be an increase of a minimum 10% in 2014.

The Chinese share of the throughput of Rotterdam will be once again significant and is quite likely to increase yet again in 2015, Castelein further added.

Currently there are 18 container services on a weekly basis between Chinese ports and the Port of Rotterdam.