Handling increase and high investments at Rostock overseas port

Once again the all-purpose character of Rostock overseas port has proved its worth, since it allowed for increases in one segment to more than compensate for decreases in others. Also remarkable are the extensive construction activities at the port which concern both the infrastructure as well as investments in the superstructure by private companies. Thus the foundations are laid for the traffic flows and handling potentials of the future. The overseas port is to continue to guarantee positive employment and value-creation effects for the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock and for the whole federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.


The planned display for public examination of the documentation required for the zoning procedure for the deepening of the navigational channel in Rostock ushers in the right steps for the port and the industrial location of Rostock in order to ensure the nautical accessibility of the port in the future and to further develop the port as needed to keep up with the increase in ship dimensions.


Strong growth in liquid goods handling as a result of crude oil imports


„13.3 million gross tonnes of cargo were handled at Rostock overseas port in the first six months of this year, i.e. 300,000 tonnes or 2.3 percent more than in the same period last year. After years of continuous growth rates, wheeled cargo in ferry and ro-ro traffic notched up a four percent decrease compared to the first half of 2018, caused especially by a strong decline in paper amounts. 8.35 million tonnes of wheeled cargo were moved at the ferry and ro-ro terminal from January to June 2019. In the first half of the year the ferry and ro-ro goods accounted for 63 percent of overall handling at the all-purpose port of Rostock. By contrast there was a steep increase in the handling of liquid goods. Since oil supplies from Russia via the “Drushba” pipeline were partly stopped at the end of April, tankers came to Rostock to provide an alternative supply to the PCK Schwedt refinery. Around 800,000 tonnes of crude oil were received at the tank farm of Rostock oil port (GÖR) since the beginning of May. Handling of bulk and general cargo at the all-purpose port of Rostock reached five million tonnes during the first 6 months of the year and thus provided 37 percent of the total cargo handling. The number of ferry passengers carried to and from Northern Europe remained on the high level of the previous year, at 1.05 million”, says Dr. Gernot Tesch, Managing Director of ROSTOCK PORT GmbH.


Rostock overseas port recorded 3,795 calls by ferry, ro-ro, cargo and cruise vessels in the first six months of the year (2018: 3,650), 3,099 (2018: 2,905) of which were port calls by ferries and ro-ro vessels.


Wheeled cargo


196,300 trucks (escorted units) were carried on the three ferry and three ro-ro services to and from Denmark, Sweden and Finland, 6.5 percent less than in the same period last year. Handling of unescorted units increased by contrast, 66,100 trailers and other cargo units having been loaded and unloaded (plus one percent). In addition more than 9,000 railway wagons were carried by sea in the first half of 2019 (plus 15 percent). The number of cars carried also showed a gratifying increase by four percent to 197,000.


The handling of paper and wood pulp achieved a result of 352,000 tonnes in the first six months of 2019 and thus 64,000 tonnes less on the same period of 2018.


The handling of load units in intermodal transport during the first six months of 2019 increased by 17 percent on the same period of last year. The increase in volume in the first half of 2019 is in particular due to the new traffic between Rostock and Lovosice (April 2019), Cervignano (September 2018) and Curtici (November 2018). “We continue to work with partners to create new train connections to the natural hinterland of Rostock. We want to make better use of the locational advantages of Rostock in intermodal transport, especially with south-eastern Europe, than we have so far”, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.



Bulk goods and general cargo


The handling of liquid goods in the first six months of 2019 showed a distinct plus of 63 percent as a result of the crude oil imports that must be considered a one-off effect. All in all 1.75 million tonnes, of which 800,000 tonnes were crude oil, were pumped across the edge of the quay.


Dry bulk handling was on the level of the previous year at three million tonnes. Sizeable increases occurred in the handling of coal (plus 147,000 tonnes) and wheat (plus 130,000 tonnes); on the other hand there were decreases in the handling of split gravel (minus 170,000 tonnes), barley (minus 70,000 tonnes) and rapeseed (minus 40,000 tonnes).


„After the commissioning of a new grain silo and loading facility with 160,000 tonnes of silo capacity by GT Rostock and a new additional loading capability of 1200 tonnes of grain per hour by Euroports in September last year, Hauptgenossenschaft Nord (HaGe) is commissioning further silo capacities at Rostock grain port next week. With this successful campaign of settling new business here to strengthen Rostock as a major port for grain export the grain traders and forwarders are banking on the good logistical conditions at the Rostock site which now has a storage capability of just under 700,000 tonnes”, states Jens A. Scharner, Managing Director of ROSTOCK PORT GmbH.


In the general cargo division 262,000 tonnes were loaded and discharged, which is nearly on the level of the same period last year. Especially more components of wind power plants were loaded and discharged, but fewer pipes.


Projects and investments of ROSTOCK PORT GmbH


„Several large building projects that were started last year have kept ROSTOCK PORT busy during the first half of 2019: the new-building of berth 23, the upgrading of berth 15 on pier 3 for heavy loads, the new-building and optimization, respectively, of berths 50 and 62/63 as well as the construction of a new terminal building in Warnemünde. Until May 2019, building work in the amount of €15 million was cleared (until May 2018: €3 million)“, explains Jens A. Scharner.


On the western side of pier 3 the rebuilding of berth 23, which is 270 metres long, is to be completed until the end of 2019. This berth is part of the dry bulk terminal and is used, together with berth 24, for the import of hard coal for the power station, among other things. The existing quay structure, which is more than 50 years old, was in need of refurbishment. In the course of the building work the load-bearing capacity of the quay surface will be increased from two to five tonnes per square metre. „In order to enable us to service larger bulk carriers in the future and thus increase the handling efficiency the water depth at berth 23 must be increased from currently 11.50 to 14.50 metres. In the area adjoining berth 24 to the north the quay structure is already being prepared for the future dredging to 16.50 m water depth. Including the necessary deep dredging the project is to be completed in the first quarter of 2020”, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.


MD Scharner adds: „This project with its high volume of investment was at the same time the starting signal for the hydraulics construction at the overseas port geared towards the planned deepening of the navigational channel. The aim is to upgrade the port infrastructure in line with the deepening of the navigational channel to 16.50 metres planned by the German government to enable big ships to call at adequate berths in the port.”


On the eastern side of pier 3, civil engineering work to upgrade the surfaces in the area of berth 15 for heavy loads has been completed on schedule in the second quarter of 2019. A €7.5 million special-purpose quay with a heavy-duty rail trackway was built here for a unique project: a crane manufactured by the company Liebherr which may be considered one of the most powerful port cranes in Europe.  612 bored piles were placed for the trackway of the rail-mounted heavy lift Liebherr crane TCC 78000 between the northern part of the factory site and the adjacent quay area. This was necessary to allow for the crane’s lifting of loads up to 1,600 tonnes. The crane is 164 metres high, and the length of its crane track spar on the port territory is 380 metres on the water side and 235 metres on the land side. The track gauge for the double trolley of the TCC 78000 is 30 metres. “With this heavy lift crane, but also with the investments in new crane equipment by cargo handling companies in Rostock chances are increasing for settling further companies here and canvassing extra-heavy project cargo”, notes Dr. Gernot Tesch.


In order to be able to handle ships with a length up to 220 or 250 meters, respectively, in the ferry and ro-ro division, berths 62 and 63 are being modified since last year. By renewing the transverse quay at port basin A in the area of berth 50 it will be possible for ro-ro vessels with a length up to 250 meters to berth here in the future. These two projects are to be completed by the end of 2019.


In order to improve the quality and safety of cruise shipping in Warnemünde the federal state, the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock and ROSTOCK PORT are investing in the new-building of an additional terminal building at berth P8. The building, with a length of 186 meters and a width of 30 meters, is to be opened for the start of the cruise season in the spring of 2020.


By adjusting our facilities to the biggest ro-ro and ferry vessels, the capital expenditure of 18 million Euros currently under way in the ferry and ro-ro division is creating the preconditions for the operation of ships with lower emissions and is widening the scope of offers at the overseas port. For the year 2019 ROSTOCK PORT plans a total investment volume of 40 million Euros. “This challenge can only be met through the needs-based and future-proof funding and support by our shareholders, the city and the federal state, in order to secure the future competitiveness of the overseas port and to provide for efficiency and high innovative ability of the companies at the port”, underlines Jens A. Scharner.


Environmental protection and sustainability


Currently the planning department of the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock as the responsible authority is conducting the planning for the construction of a shore power installation in Warnemünde. A declaration of intent to this effect on the joint promotion of environmentally friendly and sustainable cruise shipping had been signed with AIDA Cruises in September 2018. The Hanseatic and University City of Rostock aims at providing shore power at two berths next year.


At the same time the port supports emission reduction measures by companies and plans to set up an air monitoring network in Warnemünde and at the overseas port. Due to the existing preconditions at research facilities, maritime suppliers, shipyards and shipping companies in Rostock we envisage a leading position in LNG technology in Germany. The port and the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock support this LNG cluster by unlimited supply options on the port territory and by supporting the establishment of an LNG terminal at the port of Rostock. ROSTOCK PORT is convinced that acceptance among the population will further increase at the port city of Rostock with the use of alternative low-emission fuels in shipping, among other things.


Popular cruise port


The site expects a successful year in 2019 with 196 port calls by 40 cruise vessels on 115 days. 184 times the ships will berth in Warnemünde and twelve times in the overseas port. The last port call of a cruise vessel is expected in Warnemünde on 4 December this year.