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North Sea Port records ‘modest increase’ in wood pellet, wood waste transhipments in 2020

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In 2020, the companies in North Sea Port reported 63.5 million tons of cargo transhipment from maritime shipping, down on the previous year. However, solid fuels including wood pellets and wood waste saw a modest increase.

The Dutch-Flemish port recorded 8 million tons less maritime cargo transhipment than in 2019, with the COVID-19 crisis, Brexit, and the oil crisis all playing a role. Of the total, 70.5% were import and 29.5% export.

More than half of cargo transhipment via maritime navigation at the port is dry bulk. This fell by 6% in 2020. According to North Sea Port, dry bulk managed to ‘hold its own’ fairly well in 2020, given that there had been a 10% increase over the two years before.

The decline was mainly seen in solid fuels (petcoke, coal, and anthracite) and iron ore. There was a modest increase in the transhipment of blast furnace and iron slag, limestone, scrap metal, and wood pellets and wood waste.

At 16.2 million tonnes, liquid bulk accounted for one-quarter of maritime cargo traffic. However, 2020 saw a decrease of 19.3%, which is entirely accounted for by petroleum products (naphtha mixtures, gas, and diesel oil, naphtha, and biodiesel).

Russia remained at number one of the North Sea Port’s list of its top five trading partners. The UK came second, passing the US which moved down to third. Canada rose one place to fourth, and Brazil dropped one place to take the fifth spot.

The port is looking forward to a more positive 2021, with losses halved by the end of the year provided there is not a ‘severe’ third lockdown. Over 2022, the port expects a full recovery to around 71.5 million tonnes, the same transhipment volume recorded in 2019.