The Dutch port of Rotterdam handled 177 million tonnes of transhipment cargo in the first half of 2004, up 8% from 2003. Container throughput rose 12% to 4 million TEUs. Port CEO Willem Scholten acknowledged China’s role as a catalyst for developments elsewhere, but the broad distribution of growth points to more than China, he noted. Investment in the port has been heavier than anywhere else in The Netherlands, he said, and “It’s payback time, investment pays.” The increased in container throughput on Far East trade has created a capacity shortage in every large terminal in Western Europe, according to Scholten. Meanwhile, Kuhne + Nagel reported it had signed a supply chain management contract with UK retailer Argos Retail Group that will result in an estimated 65,000 TEUs of shipments into the UK over the next year, mostly from the Far East.
In other news, the Associated British Ports reported interim results for the first half of 2004. The ports group credited new contracts as fueling its growth in 2004. Roll-on/roll-off trade and deep-sea container traffic increased at the Port of Southampton, along with vehicle imports and exports, coal imports, and forest products.
The British ports expect growth will continue as a number of projects currently contracted for come online over the next 18 months.
On the air side, TNT Express won its dispute with protestors who objected to night flights at its Belgian air hub in Liege. Protestors wanted the court to close the airport or ban all TNT Express night flights.
Guangzhou’s Balyun International Airport is expected to handle 1.25 million tons of airfreight each year by 2010. With growth anticipated at 10% per year, Southern China’s newest airport could reach capacity of 2.5 million tons per year longer term.