Rotterdam reports 55 percent surge in incoming LNG shipments and jump in coal imports linked to sanctions

Monday, 25 July 2022
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The Port of Rotterdam, host to the Dutch Gate LNG import terminal in the Maasvlakte area, reported “significant changes” in the first half of 2022 because of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine with incoming LNG shipments increasing by over 55 percent and coal imports also surging.

The Port said in its first-half report that total cargoes increased by 0.8 percent to 233.5 million tonnes compared with 231.6MT in the first six months of 2021.

Revenues at the port, which is owned by the City of Rotterdam and the Government of the Netherlands, increased by 6.3 percent to €412 million ($420M) versus €387.6M in the first half of 2021.

The increase in port dues accounted for €16.1M of the revenues and this rise was primarily attributable to a higher number of vessels, resulting in a higher price per throughput tonne.

“In many segments, the war in Ukraine led to significant changes. For example, imports of both LNG and coal rose very sharply as an alternative to reduced European imports of Russian gas by pipeline,” said the report.

The Port said it handled 5.32 million tonnes of incoming LNG from January through June compared with 3.41MT in the first half of 2021, a rise of 55.9 percent.

Dutch LNG imports for all of 2021 amounted to 5.64MT, an increase of 5.8 percent over the previous year.

Coal imports

Rotterdam’s coal imports in the first half jumped 31.9 percent to 14.05MT from 10.65MT in the prior-year period.

“There is very strong demand for LNG as an alternative to the natural gas entering Europe by pipeline from Russia,” said the Port.

“The throughput of crude oil increased, with oil products falling off. Throughput of iron ore, agricultural bulk and containers was lower than in the same period last year,” it added.

LNG shipments come under the Port’s Liquid Bulk segment and first-half traffic of liquid bulk rose by 4.6 percent.

“The 4.3 percent increase in crude oil was mainly caused by the flow of Russian oil through Rotterdam to India in particular. Refineries in Northwest Europe are switching to non-Russian oil, with the result that Russian oil is finding its way to other markets,” the Port explained.

“It was possible to see a shift in the origin of imports of coal, crude oil, oil products and LNG in the second quarter. Companies are sourcing these energy carriers and raw materials less and less from Russia and purchasing them elsewhere in the world,” said the report.

CEO overview

Allard Castelein, Chief Executive of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, noted that Europe has relied heavily on Russian energy.

“The current geopolitical situation makes Europe very vulnerable. The availability of energy and raw materials at reasonable prices cannot be taken for granted,” said Castelein.

“A positive development is that concrete steps have been taken in recent months to make our energy supply more sustainable and to further our energy independence, particularly through investment decisions to build a large biorefinery,” he added.

“In addition to the vulnerability of the European energy system, nitrogen emissions continue to be a major bottleneck. Several major projects, including the carbon dioxide-capture and storage project Porthos, are being delayed or threatened with delays due to uncertainty and restrictions associated with nitrogen emission,” stated the CEO.

Rotterdam’s Gate LNG terminal started operations in 2011 and is a joint venture between Dutch utility Gasunie and global storage company Royal Dutch Vopak.

Gate Terminal BV, the operating company, said in early July 2022 that annual capacity was now 12 billion cubic metres on a firm basis and in addition 4 Bcm on an interruptible basis will be available in the future.

The terminal company said it had started working on a permit application, regulatory conditions and technical feasibility with the aim of launching an open season on 15th August 2022 to increase the firm annual capacity by 4 Bcm.

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