July 23, 2020 / 8:47 AM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-Rotterdam port H2 traffic falls by 9%, hit by COVID-19

(Updates with details)

AMSTERDAM, July 23 (Reuters) - The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest sea port, said on Thursday traffic had fallen by 9.1% in the first half of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first six months of the year throughput was 219 million tonnes, compared with 241 million tonnes in the same period of 2019.

The fall was “no surprise”, given fallout from the pandemic and the impact on global trade, CEO Allard Castelein said in a statement.

“On the positive side, the throughput volumes in the second quarter turned out to be better than (we) initially expected.”

In April, the port had warned that full year 2020 throughput could be up to 20% lower than the 470 million tonnes it saw in 2019.

The port said it expected economic recovery in the second half of 2020 would mean volumes will not decline further, but throughput for the year would still be “significantly lower” than in 2019.

While container traffic and throughput of coal and ores declined, the port saw an increase in biomass and LNG in the first half, it said.

Revenue increased by 0.7% to 360 million euros ($417 million), while profit on ordinary operations declined by 4.8% to 128.4 million euros, the port said. The port is owned by the City of Rotterdam and the Dutch State. ($1 = 0.8630 euros) (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Catherine Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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