Half of unloaded containers carried by container giants

© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
In 2016, over 900 of the two largest types of container ships called at the Port of Rotterdam to unload containers. This is 2.5 times as many container giants as in 2011. Together, these container ships carried nearly half of all loaded containers that were unloaded in Rotterdam. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on existing and new (big data) sources as part of its innovation programme.

Container giants have a cargo capacity of more than 10 thousand TEU (the standard capacity unit for container ships). They can unload on average nearly 3 thousand loaded containers per visit onto Dutch quays. In 2016, a relatively small number of container giants - 8 percent of all incoming container ships - delivered over 2.5 million TEU in cargo. The smaller container ships carried 2.8 million TEU. In 2011, container giants were responsible for as much as 16 percent of incoming container transport.

Containers unloaded at Port of Rotterdam
 Other container shipsContainer giants
2012 3.9451.017

Where do all these sea containers go?

Most of these container giants originate from ports in China. After calling at other Asian ports, they arrive in Europe, where their cargo is usually unloaded at several ports as well. Around 22 percent of all containers that are unloaded in Rotterdam are then loaded onto other seagoing vessels for further transport towards other seaports (transshipment); this involves an average 23 other vessels. These - often smaller - vessels mainly carry the containers to ports in other European countries such as the United Kingdom (20 percent), Russia (16 percent), Ireland (11 percent) and Sweden (11 percent).

These figures and the accompanying visualisation stem from research on the use of existing and new sources for the purpose of maritime transport statistics. More background information can be found on our Innovation page.