The Dutch port of Rotterdam, which employs 70,000 people, is being hit hard by the current economic slump.
The Dutch port of Rotterdam, which employs 70,000 people, is being hit hard by the current economic slump. Containers are piled high in the main ECT shipping terminal, and the areas where new cars are parked are overflowing. Traditionally, the more containers remain in the port, the less actual trade there is. The transshipment of raw materials for the metal and chemical industries is declining and the growth of container shipments has come to a standstill, Rotterdam mayor Ivo Opstelten said at a port authority meeting on Monday.
Rotterdam, located where the Rhine and Meuse rivers meet the North Sea, is the largest port in Europe. It is strategically important for the storage and transfer of crude oil, containers, ore and scrap metal.
The decline has accelerated since September when US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed.
Port authority president Hans Smits said in October that the harbour continues to perform "at a high level". Shipments through Rotterdam grew by 6.1 percent over the first three quarters of 2008, but fell in October.