Annual report 2018: Space for today and tomorrow
‘Our world is changing rapidly and profoundly. Global developments such as the energy and raw materials transition, digitisation and changing goods flows have far-reaching consequences for all our activities. Flexibility and adaptability are therefore required in the further development and renewal of the Rotterdam port and industrial area. To maintain prosperity in our region, the Netherlands and Northwest Europe, we must create sufficient space for developments today and tomorrow. Our strategy therefore primarily focuses on innovative capacity, broadening the portfolio and enhancing the business climate.’
This is the comment of Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, on the 2018 annual report, published online today.
Container transhipment drives growth
The Port’s total throughput grew 0.3% in 2018. Container throughput, measured in TEUs – the standard unit – grew 5.7%. The net operating result rose slightly to €254.1 million (2017: €247.3 million), mainly as a result of lower interest charges. This result enables us to continue investing in the existing port and industrial area and at the same time to embrace and develop new initiatives in the area of energy transition and digitisation.
Importance of the port of Rotterdam for the Netherlands
We are working constantly to increase our added value. Research has shown that the port of Rotterdam contributes €45.6 billion to gross domestic product. Some 1.2 million people live in and around the port, and the port directly and indirectly employs 385,000 people in the Netherlands (source: Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Rotterdam Effect, published in November 2018). A healthy and attractive living environment for local residents and employees in the port is important for creating economic and social value.
Our gross investments increased 91% to €408.1 million in 2018, the highest level since the construction of Maasvlakte 2. By far the largest part of this amount was used to further improve the logistical accessibility of the port of Rotterdam, for example by starting construction of the Container Exchange Route and building the Princess Amalia Viaduct. Together with partners, we are also working on the more efficient handling of shipping traffic. In 2018, for example, we launched Pronto, the digital app that reduces ships’ waiting times by 20%. In 2018 we also acquired a minority stake in the port of Pecém in Brazil. We plan to develop this port into a self-sufficient, increasingly sustainable and profitable complex. We provide Pecém with the necessary expertise and financial and other resources, at an attractive rate of return for us.
Together with our partners, we took appropriate action in June 2018 following the Bow Jubail oil spill in the Third Petroleum Port. As a result, the adverse effects for business and the environment were relatively limited. Cybersecurity was another focal point. In 2018 we launched the Port Cyber Notification Desk, to which large-scale IT disruptions are reported. This measure contributes to digital resilience and security in the port of Rotterdam.
Clean, renewable and sustainable
The report ‘Three steps to a sustainable Rotterdam-Moerdijk industry cluster’ is an important element in the achievement of our ambition of being a leader in the energy transition. The report was published in 2018 as part of the draft national Climate Agreement. At the same time, we made progress in preparing for various projects, such as the use of residual heat and the capture, transport and storage of CO2 under the North Sea. We are also working on digitisation in order to make the port and trade flows even more efficient.
Our integrated annual report complies with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards for sustainability reporting. Our auditor has audited both the financial data and the non-financial information in our annual report and issued an integrated audit opinion.