Positive development at Rostock Overseas port

Rostock Overseas port handled a total of 25.7 million tonnes of cargo in 2019. This is equivalent to a slight increase of 100,000 tonnes against the result of the previous year. Slight declines in the growth driver, the ferry and ro-ro traffic, were made up for by good results in other areas. “This once again shows the strength of the business model of Rostock Overseas port as the largest universal port on the German Baltic Sea coast, which allows temporary declines in the handling of individual cargo types due to weaker spells in the overall economic situation to be evened out by growth in other segments. Port companies and shipping companies make sure that a variety of goods are being transhipped, which has led to a good annual result for Rostock at the overseas port also last year”, states Dr. Gernot Tesch, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT GmbH. The investment volume in 2019 reached a new ten-year high at just under 40 million Euros. The other ports in Rostock such as the cargo and fishing port and the chemical port together notched up a handling result of 1.5 million tonnes in 2019. This means that a total of 27.2 million tonnes of cargo were handled in Rostock in 2019.

Last year the planning permission documentation for the deepening of the navigational channel in Rostock to 16.50 meters was made available for public examination, thus creating the preconditions for future traffic flows and cargo handling potentials especially in the field of bulk cargo. The German government plans to deepen the entrance channel to the port of Rostock, which is about 15 km long, to 16.5 meters in order to allow ships with a draught of up to 15 meters to enter the port of Rostock safely. The deepening of the navigational channel in Rostock is to start in the year 2021 and is estimated to take about two and a half years.

Cargo handling results at the overseas port 

All told, Rostock overseas port logged 7,744 port calls by ferry and ro-ro vessels, tankers, freighters and cruise liners last year, of which 6,181 port calls were made by ferry and ro-ro vessels. 

Dry bulk handling in 2019 was 2.5 percent above the level of the previous year with a total of 5.9 million tonnes handled. Especially the handling of wheat and barley showed increases. Compared to 2018 around 440,000 tonnes more were shipped in this division. Losses of handling amounts occurred in the handling of split gravel (minus 180,000 tonnes), coal (minus 90,000 tonnes) and rye (minus 60,000 tonnes). The handling of fertilizer (680,000 tonnes), cement (300,000 tonnes) and rapeseed (460,000 tonnes) reached approximately the level of the previous year. With an annual result of about 2.6 million tonnes (plus 16 percent) grain handling is the prevailing dry bulk cargo type at the overseas port. 

At 3 million tonnes the handling of liquid goods was about 700,000 tonnes or 30 percent above the level of the previous year. Especially the crude oil imports of the first half of 2019 contributed to this extraordinary result. Last year the port of Rostock handled more gas oil but less petroleum (naphtha). 

Handling of high-value-added general cargo was a little above the level of the previous year at 570,000 tonnes. While especially the loading of sheet metal, wind power plants and rotor blades increased and the bottom line also improved for the handling of zinc and crane facilities compared to 2018, fewer pipes were hoisted over the sides.

Wheeled cargo 

Handling of wheeled cargo, i.e. ferry and ro-ro goods decreased slightly in 2019. All told the amount went down by 700,000 tonnes to 16.2 million tonnes (minus 4 percent). The share of wheeled cargo in the total handling of Rostock overseas port thus amounted to 63 percent. 

The number of truck units carried on the ferry and ro-ro connections to and from northern Europe went down from 406,213 in 2018 to 379,812 last year. That is a minus of 6.5 percent. By contrast the number of trailers handled increased from 124,236 to 125,306 last year. 

An increase of three percent to 554,000 compared to 2018 was notched up in the number of cars and mobile homes carried. The number of ferry passengers carried on the services to northern Europe achieved roughly the same result as the previous year at 2.5 million travellers. 

The number of railway wagons carried to and from Trelleborg showed a gratifyingly strong increase from 15,605 to 18,388 (plus 18 percent). Rostock Overseas port is a major railway port on the German Baltic Sea coast. Around one fifth of all goods transhipped at our port are carried in and out by Rail. 

735,000 tonnes of paper and cellulose were transhipped at the overseas port in 2019, which was about 160,000 tonnes less than in 2018. 

Intermodal transport shows growth

Handling of intermodal load units in Intermodal Transport in the year 2019 increased to 87,000 units in 2019 and thus by an impressive 11.5 percent. Currently there are 30 intermodal trains operating weekly to and from Verona (15) and Cervignano (3) in Italy, to and from Brno (3) and Lovosice (4) in the Czech Republic, to and from Wuppertal (3) and Halle/Schkopau (1) in Germany as well as Curtici (1) in Romania.

The trend on the south-eastern axis, which has seen distinct growth in recent years and offers further potential, is very gratifying. Especially the connections to the Czech Republic are under further development; the connection to Lovosice for instance will be strengthened by another departure per week from February. 

Cruise shipping 

The 2020 cruise season at the Warnemünde cruise port starts on 24 March with the arrival of the passenger vessel Boudicca of British Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. All told, 207 port calls by 44 cruise vessels are expected this year. 188 times the ships will berth in Warnemünde and 19 times at the overseas port. Six vessels will head for the mouth of river Warnow for the first time: Celebrity Apex, Costa Fascinosa, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Jade, Sky Princess and Spirit of Discovery. Cruise vessels will be in the port on river Warnow on 132 days of the year 2020. 

Rostock-based shipping company AIDA Cruises will operate three vessels from Warnemünde, its base port in the Baltic Sea: AIDAdiva, AIDAmar and AIDAaura. Out of a total of 53 port calls with passenger turnarounds announced for 2020, 46 will be by AIDA Cruises. The Spanish cruise operator Pullmantur will carry out seven port calls with passenger turnarounds by the cruise liner Monarch at the overseas port. Furthermore, 46 port calls with partial turnarounds are planned by the Italian shipping companies Costa Crociere and MSC Cruises as well as by the US shipping company Princess Cruises. Italian and German passengers in particular will be embarking and disembarking on these occasions. 

The sailing list for 2020 includes 37 port calls by very large cruise liners with an overall length of 300+ meters: Sky Princess with a length of 330 meters, Norwegian Escape with 326 meters length, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection with 319 meters length each, Celebrity Apex with 306 meters and Disney Magic with a length of 300 meters. Norwegian Escape is the largest vessel of the coming season with a gross register tonnage of 164,600. The Swiss-based shipping company Viking Ocean Cruises has included Warnemünde 23 times in the schedules of its four sister vessels Viking Jupiter, Viking Sky, Viking Star and Viking Sun.  Phoenix Reisen plans two port calls by its passenger vessel Albatros in December (on December 12 and 19). 

„Both the port and the railway infrastructure in Warnemünde are undergoing extensive improvements: the new terminal building „Warnemünde Cruise Center 8“ is to be ready for operation in the spring, in May the converted Warnemünde railway station is to be opened and the shore-based electricity supply facility is scheduled to take up its trial operation in the summer in cooperation with the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock,” says Jens A. Scharner, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT. 

Projects and investments 

„Several large building projects that were already started last year have kept ROSTOCK PORT busy also during the second half of 2019: the new-building of berth 23, the optimization of berths 50, 62 and 63 as well as the construction of a new terminal building in Warnemünde. Until December 2019, building work in the amount of just under €40 million was cleared “, says Jens A. Scharner. 

On the western side of pier 3 the rebuilding of berth 23, which is 270 meters long, was largely completed by the end of 2019.  During the first three months of 2020, further work will be done on paving of surfaces and railway track construction as well as dredging to a water depth of 14.50 meters. Full completion is planned until April 2020. Berth 23 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 is increased from two to five tonnes per square meter. In the meantime the new building and dredging at neighbouring berth 24 has been put out to EU-wide tender. 

Civil engineering work to upgrade the surfaces in the area of berth 15 at port basin C 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 is among the most powerful port cranes in Europe.  612 bored piles were placed between the northern part of the factory site and the adjacent quay area for the trackway of the rail-mounted heavy lift Liebherr crane TCC 78000. This was necessary to allow for the crane’s lifting of loads up to 1,600 tonnes. The crane is 164 meters high, and the length of its crane track spar on the port territory is 380 meters on the water side and 235 meters on the land side. The track gauge for the double trolley of the TCC 78000 is 30 meters. This crane facility now allows us to move extra-heavy crane and individual loads. “This investment by the company Liebherr has not only given the Hanseatic and University city of Rostock a new landmark, it also opens up a whole new dimension of loading opportunities for the port”, says 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 the end of 2018. 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, load and unload here in the future.  Building activities at berth 50 were largely finished by the end of 2019. Residual work is being carried out until February 2020. Berth 62 was completed towards the end of 2019. The work at berth 63 will continue until April 2020. 

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. After the foundation work had been completed up to the start of the 2019 season, building construction work of the terminal building began in October 2019 after the end of the Season. 

By adjusting our facilities to the biggest ro-ro and ferry vessels, the capital expenditure of 21 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 2020 ROSTOCK PORT plans a total investment volume of around 30 million Euros.

Another investment project was started at the end of 2019 after an EU-wide tender under the designation “Improvement of traffic flows part 2”. A first component covers the preparation for construction of approx. seven hectares of port territory directly at the port entrance east and west of the channel. Further components are mainly meant to upgrade and optimize existing traffic structures and creating port development areas inside the port territory. The total volume of the investment is around twelve million Euros, which is to be spent over the next three years.

Environmental protection and sustainability

Currently the planning department of the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock as the responsible authority is conducting the construction of a shore power installation to supply ships at berths P7 and P8 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, the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Hanseatic and University city of Rostock and ROSTOCK PORT in September 2018. The aim is to start the test operation in the summer of this year.

Increasing requirements with regard to air pollution control in shipping and land transport have also triggered plans for investing in the construction of an LNG (liquid natural gas) handling terminal at Rostock Overseas port. In autumn 2018 ROSTOCK PORT signed a lease with the Russian gas supplier Novatek who intends to build and operate an LNG terminal on 2.5 hectares of land on pier 4 together with the Belgian company Fluxys. The terminal is to have a tank volume of 25,000 cubic meters of gas as well as handling equipment and a truck filling station. The targeted annual handling volume is 250,000 cubic meters of liquid gas. 

For further information please visit www.rostock-port.de


Statistics of Rostock Overseas port


Main cargo types

2018 (t)

2019 (t)



in %

in %

Ferry & ro-ro goods



-4 %

63 %






Dry bulk goods



+2 %

23 %






Liquid goods



+30 %

12 %






General cargo



+1 %

2 %




+0.4 %

100 %



60th anniversary of Rostock Overseas port 

On 30 April 2020 Rostock Overseas port will celebrate its 60th anniversary. For the occasion the port, together with its partners, companies and sponsors invites the general public for a party on 1 May 2020 between 10am and 5pm at Rostock Overseas port, port basin B. Apart from all-day performances on a show stage there will be a varied supporting programme with something for the whole family, activities for guests to engage in, presentations of clubs, open ship offers, a lookout crane, bus tours of the port and much more.

Together with Rostocker Fracht- und Fischereihafen (Rostock cargo and fishing port) which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year the two Rostock ports will present themselves jointly on 1 May 2020. The cargo and fishing port will also hold its birthday party on 1 May and the various port locations of Rostock, i.e. the cargo and fishing port, the overseas port, the traditional ship and the cruise terminal in Warnemünde are all to be connected for the guests by passenger vessels up and down river Warnow on the day. “With these port anniversaries we want to promote our varied and promising economic and employment locations and celebrate the port city of Rostock with all birthday guests from near and far”, says Jens A. Scharner.