Handling record in Rostock

Handling record in Rostock

High growth rates in goods handling during the first six months of 2021

A total of 15.2 million tonnes of cargo passed the edge of the quay in Rostock during the first half of 2021. Of this amount, 14.4 million tonnes were handled at the Overseas Port. According to the city’s port and shipping authority, 800,000 tonnes were handled at other port facilities in Rostock, such as the Chemical Port of Yara and the Cargo and Fishing Port. Thus the goods handled in the whole Rostock estuary showed a 13 percent increase over the first half of last year. The number of ferry passengers carried to and from northern Europe dropped due to the pandemic by just under 50,000 to 488,000 passengers.

„These handling numbers represent a new record both for Rostock Overseas Port and for Rostock as a whole. Never have more goods been hoisted over the edge of the quays during the months from January to June. In view of the current situation this is an outstanding feat. All the port companies and authorities of Rostock, especially the shipping companies, cargo handling businesses, forwarders and railway operators have made these high growth rates in goods handling on river Warnow possible during the first half of 2021 through their interaction“, says Dr. Gernot Tesch, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT.

„Despite the very difficult overall conditions the balance of the first six months is very good and it confirms the economic dynamics of the port economy in Rostock. The first months of the year were characterised by high goods handling and setbacks in passenger traffic that were caused by Coronavirus“, states Jens A. Scharner, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT.

Double-digit growth at Rostock Overseas Port

During the first six months of 2021, goods handling at Rostock Overseas Port rose by 1.7 million tonnes to 14.4 million tonnes, which represents an increase by 13 percent compared to the same period last year.

After the constraints caused by Coronavirus in many supply chains during the first six months of the previous year, the wheeled cargo in ferry and ro-ro traffic notched up a remarkable increase by 20 percent this year. 9.1 million tonnes of wheeled cargo were moved at the ferry and ro-ro terminal from January to June 2021. 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. Handling of bulk and general cargo contributed a share of 37 percent to the total cargo handling with 5.3 million tonnes.

Rostock Overseas Port recorded 3,616 calls (2020: 3,682) by ferry, ro-ro, cargo and cruise vessels in the first six months of the year, 2,801 (2020: 2,804) of which were port calls by ferries and ro-ro vessels.

Wheeled cargo

203,000 trucks (escorted units) were carried on the three ferry and three ro-ro services to and from Denmark, Sweden and Finland, 12 percent more than in the same period last year. Handling of unescorted units increased even more: 83,200 trailers and other cargo units rolled on and off the vessels (plus 30 percent). In addition 14,800 railway wagons were carried by sea in the first half of 2021. The previous year’s level was far surpassed with an increase by 53 percent. The number of cars carried (just under 100,000) almost reached the previous year’s result which had however already suffered from the pandemic.

The handling of paper, cellulose and other forest products produced a result of 338,000 tonnes. This was 51,000 tonnes more than in the same period of 2020.

Positive trend in intermodal cargo and container transport

The handling of load units in intermodal transport increased impressively during the first six months of 2021 to 63,752 units (plus 41 percent). “The continuous growth of recent years went on as a result of several new services started at the beginning of the year and it received an additional boost by a temporary railway line locking in Denmark. In dealing with the sharply increased volume of intermodal transport all companies involved have once again demonstrated their efficiency”, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.

39 intermodal transport services currently run every week to and from Verona (18) in Italy, Brno (3) in the Czech Republic, Bratislava (2) in Slovakia, Dresden (5, formerly Lovosice), Herne (6) and Halle (1) in Germany, Bettembourg (3) in Luxembourg as well as Curtici (1) in Romania.

Two new intermodal services began to operate from Rostock at the turn of 2020/2021, to Bettembourg and Bratislava. This highlights in particular the efficiency of the railways as a transport system and of intermodal transport also in times of crisis especially in cross-border transport. The Bettembourg train operates as a so-called mixed traffic, which means that apart from intermodal units it also carries conventional wagon loads that are carried by ferry to and from Trelleborg. By creating the connection to and from Bettembourg it is also possible to reach destinations in the south of France and in Spain on the one hand as well as destinations in Great Britain via the North Sea ports, on the other. The new connection to Bratislava clearly demonstrates the potential of intermodal transport on the axis to south-eastern Europe that is becoming ever more important for Rostock.

„Especially while the railway line through Denmark was locked Rostock Overseas Port demonstrated its particular efficiency, which has caused some customers to change to the sea route via Rostock for good, it being less susceptible to breakdowns and more reliable. Apart from the possibility of using the Intermodal Transport Terminal in Rostock customers were also able to route their trains through the train-ferry service of Stena Line to Sweden from Rostock. This shows clearly that we need a multipath strategy also for railway traffic. ROSTOCK PORT and the companies active at the location will continue to create all infrastructure and superstructure prerequisites for this important growth segment at our site and will usher in further development steps“, explains Dr. Gernot Tesch. For instance a first track for the handling of 740 m long block trains was refurbished towards the end of the first six months of 2021 and the planning preparations were made to extend further tracks.

Apart from the impressive growth rates in the intermodal transport division the port of Rostock has established itself as a hub for Silk Road traffic since it started in April 2020. The new transport route on which the containers are carried on the Silk Road between China and Europe by rail and then by ship between Kaliningrad and Rostock came into being at the request of forwarders and operators in order to offer an alternative to the rapidly growing traffic. From Rostock the containers are shipped on via the dense ferry and ro-ro network to northern Europe and by block trains and/or the existing intermodal transport network to all of continental Europe.

New ferry service from the end of August

Under the name „Hansa Destinations“ the Swedish shipping company „Rederi AB Gotland“ will start a new ferry line for cargo and passenger traffic between the Swedish capital Stockholm and Rostock at the end of August.

„ROSTOCK PORT sees this new service, which will add to the range of routes on offer, as setting the course for the future and we expect considerable amounts of additional cargo for the benefit of our location as a result. Rostock continues to develope into the central logistics hub for transport to and from northern Europe. All relevant markets in northern Europe can be reached from the port of Rostock. That is unique for a Baltic Sea port“, explains Dr. Gernot Tesch, managing director of the port operator ROSTOCK PORT.

In a first step the line will be served by one ship with departures from Stockholm-Nynäshamn on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is planned to offer daily departures in both directions by operating a second vessel. The crossing between Stockholm and Rostock takes about 18 hours (departure in the early evening, arrival the next day around lunchtime). One point of particular interest to ferry passengers: there are plans to call at the port of Visby on Gotland on some of the departures.

„Thus Rostock as the largest German ferry passenger port with several services to northern Europe also extends its offer for the passengers with an attractive connection between the old Hanse towns of Stockholm and Visby“, adds Jens A. Scharner, managing director of  ROSTOCK PORT.

The new ferry service will be located in port basin A at the south-easternmost berth of the ferry terminal at Rostock Overseas Port. The new building of berth 51 was completed only last year and the adjacent transverse quay of berth 50 was equipped with new ro-ro ramps at the same time.

Bulk goods and general cargo

An increase by 370,000 tonnes and thus 30 percent was notched up in the handling of liquid goods. 1.63 million tonnes were pumped across the edge of the quay until the end of June 2021. The main liquids handled were naphtha, crude oil and bunker goods.

At 3.37 million tonnes the handling of dry bulk was about 200,000 tonnes below the very high level of the previous half-year. The highest share in dry bulk handling was again contributed by grain with 1.9 million tonnes (2020: 2.2 million tonnes).

In the high value-added general cargo division 310,000 tonnes were hoisted over the side, which is 17,000 tonnes or six percent more on the same period last year. Especially more cranes and pipes were loaded.

Investments and future fields of business

With the completion of the road underpass under the street ‚Am Seehafen‘ in July and the connections created among plots in the southern port area at the same time another milestone was reached for commissioning the new logistics terminal. With the support of Deutsche Bahn two efficient branch tracks for the terminal area have also been completed. Until the end of this year the work on producing the traffic areas is to be largely completed and thus another environmentally friendly rail connection will be ready for cargo passing through the port.

At the Intermodal Transport Terminal an additional option for servicing trains up to 740 m in length was created by rearranging spaces in the track area. This activity was co-financed by the Federal Railway Authority on the basis of the guideline for promoting cargo handling facilities of intermodal transport. “By investing in the extension and the strengthening of environmentally friendly means of transport like shipping and railways the companies together with the railway port of Rostock exercise their responsibility for a more sustainable development and a better linkage between modes of transport”, underlines Jens A. Scharner.

In order to ensure sustainability the port of Rostock is investing in the development of new fields of business and in infrastructure. We would like to point out the fact that the IPCEI application of the HyTechPort of Rostock has been considered during the pre-evaluation of building up the German and European hydrogen strategy. This project in Rostock aims at building up a hydrogen production by several partners here. Rostock plans to use green electricity for a 100 MW electrolysis facility to produce hydrogen or its derivatives.

„The successful shift from fossil sources of energy such as coal to non-fossil energy sources like hydrogen concerns many parts of the port. A determined move into building up a hydrogen economy in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern can phase out fossil energy sources and help decarbonise the region. Here we want to continue to set the pace for a climate-friendly and sustainable port economy”, points out Jens A. Scharner.

Cruise shipping in Warnemünde

On Monday 10 May 2021 the shore-side electricity supply facility for cruise liners at the passenger quay in Warnemünde started its regular operation as part of the National Maritime Conference. As early as September 2018 the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock, the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, ROSTOCK PORT and AIDA Cruises had started off a partnership for building a shore-side electricity supply in Rostock-Warnemünde.

The shore-side electricity supply facility now completed provides up to 20 MVA of electrical energy for the cruise liners. So from now on, two cruise liners can receive shore power from sustainable sources simultaneously at berths P7 and P8 in Warnemünde. The land-based power system is built to a modular design with standard twenty-foot containers which contain nearly all electrical components such as frequency converters, transformers, switchgear installation, controls etc. The facility is encased in a corten steel facade. Thanks to the integrated frequency converters it is possible to transform the shore electricity to accommodate all standard global shipboard power supply systems (with both 50 and 60 Hz) according to the international standards of the cruise shipping industry.

On 1 July the cruise liner AIDAsol opened the cruise season in Rostock at berth P7 of its home port on the mouth of river Warnow. Until October AIDAsol will sail from here for seven-day cruises on the Baltic Sea. At the port of Warnemünde the two passenger terminals Warnemünde Cruise Center 7 and 8 as well as the technical facilities had been prepared for the start of the cruise season and hygiene and safety concepts had been coordinated with the authorities and with AIDA Cruises and other shipping companies such as MSC and TUI Cruises who will also be welcomed in Warnemünde this year.

photo (from left to right):

Håkan Johansson, CEO, Rederi AB Gotland
Hanns-Heinrich Conzen, Managing Director, TT-Line GmbH & Co. KG
Dr. Gernot Tesch, Managing Director, ROSTOCK PORT GmbH
Katrin Verner, Freight Commercial Manager, Stena Line GmbH & Co. KG
Heiko Kähler, Managing Director, Scandlines Deutschland GmbH
Benoit Surin, Passenger Services Manager - Head of Sales, Marketing & PR, Finnlines Deutschland GmbH
Jens-Aurel Scharner, Managing Director, ROSTOCK PORT GmbH
Falk Zachau, Harbour Master, Port Authority of Rostock