Impact of Red Sea on Rotterdam bulk not expected to be great

The Red Sea crisis has led to concerns that western European ports could experience delays and then bottlenecks as imports are forced to divert around the Cape of Good Hope.

There was expected to be additional strain on the container terminals in January 2024. However, the overall impact on the port’s throughput was expected to be “minimal”.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority said that it foresaw a decline of approximately 1.25m tonnes in the 2023 throughput figures, primarily due to the delays around the year-end transition. That anticipated decline was expected to influence upwards the results for 2024. Diverted container ships are experiencing an extended voyage duration of eight to 12 days. Bulk carriers, which typically maintain a slower average speed, are facing delays of 11 to 18 days.

The distance between Singapore and Rotterdam through the Suez Canal is 8,288nm, while the route via the Cape of Good Hope is 11,755nm.

The Port estimated that container throughput during the final fortnight of December would be down by about 65,000 teu year on year, equating to roughly 650,000 tonnes. The potential impact on liquid bulk transhipment, including oil, oil products, and palm oil, was estimated at 500,000 tonnes. Some 2.4m tonnes of Rotterdam’s liquid bulk typically transit through the Suez Canal each month, but not all bulk carriers have opted for rerouting. While 500,000 tonnes of dry bulk, including commodities such as coal and iron ore, are transported through the Suez Canal to Rotterdam monthly, the Port anticipated a maximum impact of about 100,000, according to Dry Cargo International