Cargo throughput at Dutch seaports recovered in 2021

Vessel, shipping, containers, Port of Rotterdam
In 2021, the total volume of incoming and outgoing cargo shipments to and from Dutch seaports increased by 6.4 percent to 593 million tonnes. Unloading of goods increased in particular, by 7.5 percent relative to one year previously. The total weight of goods shipped out of the Netherlands amounted to 200 million tonnes, representing an increase of 4.2 percent. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Cargo throughput at Dutch seaports
JaarUnloading (x million tonnes)Loading (x million tonnes)Total (x million tonnes)

In 2021, the volume of cargo unloaded at Dutch seaports rose by 7.5 percent to nearly 393 million tonnes. This is mainly due to the fact that more dry bulk cargo was unloaded such as coal and ores (+20 percent). In 2020, this flow still decreased by the same percentage. With the German steel industry picking up again and due to the high price of gas, inbound coal shipments rose by 40.5 percent to 40 million tonnes. Transhipments of unloaded ores increased as well, by 25.3 percent to 33 million tonnes, virtually matching the level of 2019.

Incoming cargo shipments
   Unloading (x million tonnes)Loading (x million tonnes)
Liquid bulk2019197.479.0
Liquid bulk2020175.573.7
Liquid bulk2021181.375.5
Dry bulk2019116.719.8
Dry bulk202093.519.7
Dry bulk2021112.321.0
Container cargo201967.166.5
Container cargo202066.667.5
Container cargo202171.166.8

Last year, 3.3 percent more liquid bulk cargo was unloaded compared to 2020. This mainly concerned crude oil: 92.4 million tonnes were unloaded, representing an increase of 7.3 percent relative to the level in 2020. More container goods were unloaded as well. These shipments rose by 6.8 percent in weight year on year.

Most shipments from Russia

Most of the cargo unloaded at Dutch seaports originates from Russia. This was nearly 19 percent in 2021 and mainly consisted of crude oil and petroleum products. The total flow of goods from Russia grew by 22.3 percent to 74 million tonnes. The remaining countries in the unloaded cargo top five are (in order of weight): the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway and Brazil. The inbound cargo shipments from all top five countries increased, with the exception of the United Kingdom, which saw a decline. This country mainly ships liquid bulk cargo to the Netherlands.

Unloaded cargo by country of origin
JaarRussia (x million tonnes)United Kingdom (x million tonnes)United States (x million tonnes)Norway (x million tonnes)Brazil (x million tonnes)

Rotterdam’s container sector picking up

In 2021, container throughput at Dutch seaports was up again. The Port of Rotterdam handles 97 percent of these containers; with 15.3 million TEUs, it is the largest container port in Europe. Last year, Rotterdam’s container throughput increased by 6.6 percent. The ports of Antwerp and Hamburg, two other major container ports, showed growth rates of 2.4 percent and -0.1 percent respectively.

Number of containers per port
StadRotterdam (x million TEUs)Antwerp (x million TEUs)Hamburg (x million TEUs)