Port of Rotterdam feels pinch of slowing international trade

AMSTERDAM, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Throughput in the Dutch port of Rotterdam flatlined in 2019 as slowing international trade halted many shipments from Asia in the last months of the year.

This mainly affected containers, where growth at Europe’s largest sea port was negligible in the second half of the year, after a good first six months, the port authorities said.

“Economic growth in the EU declined somewhat, particularly as a consequence of reduced industrial production in Germany”, the port said.

“Moreover, as a consequence of declining production and decreased growth in world trade, shipments from Asia were cancelled in November and December.”

Total throughput was roughly stable at 469.4 million tonnes in 2019, with increases in crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biomass, and falls in coal and mineral oil products.

The volume of goods transported by trucks on ferries increased slightly, despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

But the port saw significant peaks in the so-called roll on/roll off segment in the run up to possible Brexit dates last year in a sign of periodic stockbuilding.

The Rotterdam port handles around 40 million tonnes of goods to and from Britain every year and has repeatedly warned about disruption if Britain does not agree an orderly new trading relationship with the European Union. (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Mark Potter)