Germany's biggest Baltic Sea port

Port City of Rostock with strong handling result in 2016

28.6 million tonnes of goods (gross) were handled in the port city of Rostock last year. This was 1.4 million tonnes or five percent more than in the year 2015. 26.8 million tonnes of freight passed the edge of the quay at Rostock overseas port alone. According to the port and shipping authority another 1.8 million tonnes were moved at the cargo and fishing port, the chemical port and other port facilities of the Hanseatic city.

„For this impressive development in a dynamic market we need a permanently efficient port infrastructure that satisfies all customer requirements. I therefore expressly thank all shareholders, business partners and employees who have contributed to this successful development. Apart from detailed analyses of flows of goods and traffic it is in particular the numerous contacts with long-standing business partners which have allowed for a constructive exchange on the extension of business segments. We would like to continue this dialogue in the future in order to initiate further measures to maintain the competitiveness of Rostock as a port location and to extend it sustainably wherever possible. In order to increase acceptance of the port also beyond its boundaries, especially among the residents of the Hanseatic city and its neighbouring communities, we are pursuing focussed initiatives for renaturalization of areas and cultural sponsoring. The 2016 handling results highlight the importance and competitiveness of the port of Rostock for the Hanseatic city, the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Germany in a difficult market environment", says Jens A. Scharner, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT GmbH. 

Rostock overseas port: The growth continues

At 26.8 million tonnes (gross) of goods handled in 2016, the companies at Rostock overseas port achieved the second best handling result in its almost 60-year history, recording a plus of an impressive seven percent compared to 2015.

„As a result of the high growth rates at the overseas port Rostock did not only manage to defend its position as Germany's biggest Baltic Sea port in an impressive manner but even to strengthen it“, says Dr. Gernot Tesch, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT GmbH. Only in 2008 did the port handle more goods, at 27.2 million tonnes. „Especially in the high-tonnage main cargo types of liquid, dry bulk as well as ferry and ro-ro cargo we have achieved remarkable increases “, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.

All told, Rostock overseas port logged 8,120 port calls by ferry and ro-ro vessels, tankers, freighters and cruise liners last year, of which 6,175 port calls alone were made by ferry and ro-ro vessels.

The number of ferry passengers carried on the lines to Denmark, Sweden and Finland increased by 100,000 to 2.3 million travellers.

Dry bulk handling achieved a total of 7.4 million tonnes last year and thus an increase of six percent above the level of the previous year. Almost all types of dry bulk showed a positive trend, especially oilseeds, fertilizer and coal.

Grain handling, which managed a slight increase despite poor harvest yields last year, does however remain the main dry bulk cargo at the overseas port with around 3.5 million tonnes. „In order to support the development of Rostock into a grain hub and, in the long run, use the opportunities provided by the deepening of the navigational channel especially for grain export, Euroports is building another efficient grain loader at the overseas port until 2018. Furthermore, our grain customers are also extending their storage capacities“, explains Dr. Gernot Tesch.

At 2.7 million tonnes the handling of liquid goods recorded an increase by 300,000 tonnes or twelve percent compared to 2015. More petrol, ethanol, naphtha, gas oil and fuel oil were pumped over the edge of the quay in Rostock last year.

The decline stated in the handling of general cargo is exclusively due to a change in classification of paper as cargo (now in ferry and ro-ro goods). Leaving the paper handling out of consideration the general cargo handling even increased slightly. There were, for example, increases in the handling of sheet metal and slabs.

Wheeled goods traffic as a driver of growth

Handling of wheeled cargo, i.e. ferry and ro-ro goods again increased strongly. All told the amount went up by 1.3 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes (+9 percent on the previous year). The share of wheeled cargo in the total handling of Rostock seaport thus amounted to 60 percent last year.

The number of truck units carried on the ferry and ro-ro connections to and from northern Europe increased from 326,051 in the year 2015 to 354,175 last year. So did the number of trailers handled, from 116,649 in the year 2015 to 122,352 last year. The number of railway wagons carried to and from Trelleborg decreased slightly from 21,672 to 20,358.

For the first time just over two million tonnes of goods were moved at the Intermodal Transport Terminal in 2016. The number of trailer units handled increased from 69,824 in 2015 to 76,012 last year and thus by nine percent. The Intermodal Transport network was continuously consolidated and extended. Currently there are 36 intermodal trains operating weekly to and from Verona (13), Hamburg (5), Karlsruhe (5), Brno (4), Novara (3), Duisburg (5) and Wels (1).

„Once again the ferry and ro-ro traffic has shown itself to be the driver of growth in Rostock's port business. In the next few years we must focus our attention on extending the infrastructure in order to create the conditions for the further growth that we are expecting. Apart from in-house optimization this will require going beyond the boundaries of the port as they are now“, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.

Last year, 823,000 tonnes of paper passed the edge of the quay at berths 60, 62, 63 and 31 of Rostock overseas port. This was an increase by 207,000 tonnes over the previous year. Especially the concentration of UPM's paper business in the southern Baltic at the port of Rostock since the start of 2015 and the quality provided by all protagonists involved in the handling led to a leap in volume. The lion's share of the paper handling is provided by UPM.

The shipping company Swedish Orient Line (SOL) which had been operating a ro-ro service between Rostock and Hanko in Finland with four to five departures per week since September 2012 closed down its service at the end of 2016. „The Rostock-Finland corridor has grown very strongly in recent years despite the market trend. Both Finland carriers operating in Rostock have contributed to this. We are all the more sorry about the withdrawal of SOL. Nevertheless we are convinced that goods transport along this corridor will continue to grow due to the advantages of traffic geography and the infrastructure connections of Rostock. This is already borne out by the increases in capacity and frequency announced by Finnlines“, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.

Successful cooperation with the airport Rostock-Laage

The cruise port of Rostock-Warnemünde looks back on a successful year. 181 port calls by 31 cruise vessels with 766,000 cruise travellers were recorded in 2016. In cooperation with our partners and with the airport Rostock-Laage we managed to increase the passenger turnaround of international guests via our port. Around 71,000 cruise travellers especially from Spain, Italy and France  arrived at the airport of Rostock-Laage or departed from it last year. „This season we calculate on further growth in this segment since it all fits together so well. We will continue the successful cooperation with our customers, the cruise shipping companies, and with Rostock-Laage airport to the advantage of our Spanish, Italian and French cruise guests“, says Jens A. Scharner.

The 2017 cruise season starts at Warnemünde cruise port on 27 April with the arrival of the cruise liner AIDAdiva. All told, 192 port calls by 38 cruise liners are expected this year. 178 times the vessels will berth in Warnemünde and 16 times at the overseas port. Five vessels will be heading for the mouth of river Warnow for the first time: Columbus, MSC Magnifica, Norwegian Getaway, Seven Seas Explorer and Viking Sky.

Rostock-based shipping company AIDA Cruises will again send two of its vessels to its Baltic home port of Warnemünde, AIDAdiva and AIDAmar. 40 out of 50 port calls with change of passengers have been notified by AIDA Cruises for 2017. Also, Costa, MSC, NCL and other shipping companies plan to change some of their passengers here on 61 occasions. Especially German passengers will be embarking and disembarking in Warnemünde. The 2017 cruise calendar shows three quadruple port calls and 14 triple port calls. More than 100 port calls by cruise liners take place on Fridays (39), Saturdays (43) and Sundays (36). All told, cruise liners will call at the port on river Warnow on 113 days of the year 2017. On 12 October this year the season will end with the port call of the cruise liner Balmoral of the UK shipping company Fred Olsen Cruise Line.

With more than 800,000 cruise passengers embarking and disembarking, slightly more passengers are expected this year compared to 2016. Among the most frequented Baltic cruise ports Warnemünde ranks at number six after Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki.

Forward-looking port management and investments in 2017

„The inclusion of the deepening of the navigational channel of the port of Rostock in the federal transport master plan is a success and an important milestone for the further development of the overseas port. I would like to thank the city, the federal state and the numerous companies for their support in the public participation during the compilation of the federal transport master plan. The protagonists of the maritime sector in cooperation with the state and federal government now jointly aim at initiating the public works planning procedure and achieving a swift implementation", explains Jens A. Scharner.

ROSTOCK PORT GmbH invested around 14 million Euro in the infrastructure and the improvement of processes at the port in 2016. As part of measures to improve the traffic flow the new building of a two hectare marshalling area on pier 2 was completed and the area was opened for public traffic. Preparations continued for three other partial projects that are meant to be completed this year: construction of part of a new motorway junction to the eastern seaport, demolition of the old railway signal box in this area and the new building of a two-lane elevated road to the port area east of the oil port.

In order to support the increased traffic flows and handling activities in the ro-ro division the demolition of an office building in the southern port area was begun. After it has been completed the free space obtained will be paved as a trailer depot. South of quay shed 7 unused areas of land were levelled and prepared for paving.

ROSTOCK PORT has borne the total cost for the new building of berth P7 in Warnemünde at just under eight million Euro and transferred the amount to the Hanseatic City of Rostock, the lessor of the cruise port.

Towards the end of 2016 the double-decker landing stage at berth 54 which had been completed in 2012 was finally able to prove its efficiency after around four years of delay of the two new ferry vessels. Supplementary traffic control facilities were installed at the northern tip of pier 1.

Two further focal points involve sustainability projects of the port operator. As a statutory compensation measure for infrastructure projects at the port, Rostock Port invests in the creation of a park-like area of around 20 hectares east of Werftallee in Gross Klein. The first measures to this end were already begun in 2016. This plot is owned by the Port Development Company and will be improved into a nature experience area until the end of 2017.

Furthermore the Port Development Company has begun the renaturalization of the Diedrichshäger Moor (bog) near Warnemünde. This measure was approved and granted planning permission in 2009. It will be available to the port as potential compensation in nature protection for future extensions at the existing special-purpose area of the port via an eco-account.

The plan is to complete the renaturalization of this bog and especially to perform the extensive earthmoving of degenerated bog soil still to be done, until May 2017, i.e. ahead of schedule. After that the project will move on into the monitoring and maintenance phase.

„Our efforts and investments in the year 2017 will focus in particular on modernizing and extending berths for an efficient universal port", says Jens A. Scharner.

For the first time an individual notification procedure has been initiated and successfully completed according to the new regulations of the European Union for a harbour construction project at the overseas port, namely for the new building of berth 23 with a capital expenditure of approx. 20 million Euro. This measure is meant to support the future development of dry bulk handling. After repairs at berths 21 and 22 until the summer of 2017, construction is to start at berth 23 after an all-EU tender.

ROSTOCK PORT plans to spend about 7.7 million Euro on investments in areas and buildings and about 22 million Euro on the renewal of quay facilities.

At the oil port ROSTOCK PORT will invest around four million Euro in renewing the eastern transverse quay and the jetty facility at berths 3 and 4. Building contracts have already been signed after public invitations to tender.  


Statistics of Rostock overseas port




2015 (t)

2016 (t)



liquid goods



 13 %

10 %

dry bulk goods



 6 %

28 %

general cargo*



- 22 %

2 %

ferry & ro-ro goods



9 %

60 %









 7 %

100 %

  *Some paper amounts (around 250,000 tonnes) were no longer classified under the main cargo type "general cargo" in 2016 but under "ferry and ro-ro goods". The handling trend in general cargo in the year 2016 is therefore constant and the stated deviation is the result of a statistical correction.