Strong trend at the Overseas Port: Rostock confirms handling record

Strong trend at the Overseas Port: Rostock confirms handling record

Covid slump in passenger traffic overcome

„All told, 30.5 million tonnes of cargo were handled at the port city of Rostock last year, which has exactly confirmed the record result of 2021”, states the head of the Port and Shipping Authority of Rostock, harbour master Falk Zachau.

By far the largest share of transhipped goods in Rostock was handled at the Overseas Port with 29 million tonnes. Thus the Overseas Port improved on its last year‘s handling record by 300,000 tonnes or one percent, respectively.

According to Rostock’s Port and Shipping Authority the other ports in Rostock, such as the cargo and fishing port and the chemical port, together handled another 1.5 million tonnes of goods in 2022, 300,000 tonnes less than the year before.

„Despite a variety of challenges we have not only managed to confirm the record result of the previous year but have actually improved on it. With this excellent result the ports and businesses on either bank of river Warnow have impressively demonstrated in 2022 that they are able to handle multiple crises thanks to their high efficiency. During the second half of 2022 we saw the commissioning of the car terminal, the opening of the new motorway junction in the southern part of the port as well as the start of dredging works to deepen the navigational channel to 16.50 metres, all of which are milestones in the development of our port”, summarises Dr. Gernot Tesch, managing director of ROSTOCK PORT.

„As a popular cruise shipping destination both on a national and an international level  and with several ferry lines to and from Denmark and Sweden, Rostock remains the most important German passenger port”, says Jens A. Scharner, managing director of  ROSTOCK PORT GmbH. At 2.5 million passengers on the four ferry services operated by Scandlines, Stena Line, TT-Line and Hansa Destinations there was enormous growth of 800,000 compared to 2021. Cruise shipping also recovered compared to the two pre-Covid years but in contrast to ferry passenger traffic it has not yet regained the level of 2019. All told, 294,000 sea travellers embarked and disembarked in Warnemünde during 139 port calls by 30 cruise vessels. The Russian war against Ukraine that has been going on since February 2022 had a negative effect also on cruise tourism in the Baltic Sea and thus on the number of port calls and passengers in several Baltic ports. More than 200 port calls had been notified for Rostock’s Baltic Sea spa for the year 2022.

The volume of investments in the infrastructure of the Overseas Port was Euro27.5 million last year. For this year, ROSTOCK PORT plans on more than Euro40 million of investment.

Cargo handling results at the Overseas Port

All told, Rostock Overseas Port logged 7,663 port calls by ferry and ro-ro vessels, tankers, freighters and cruise liners last year (2021: 7,551), of which 5,958 port calls were made by ferry and ro-ro vessels (2021: 5,733).

Dry bulk handling was four percent above the already very high level of the previous year with a total of 7.2 million tonnes handled. Grain remains the dominant dry bulk cargo at the Overseas Port with an annual result of 3.3 million tonnes.

At 3.45 million tonnes the handling of liquid goods was ten percent above the result of the previous year, which was due in particular to the start of crude oil imports that are set to increase in the future.

Handling of high-value-added general cargo was nine percent below the level of the previous year at 625,000 tonnes. While the loading of sheet metal, slabs and vehicles increased, handling of containers and wind power plants declined.

The result in wheeled cargo, i.e. ferry and ro-ro goods, narrowly missed the record result of the previous year with a handling result of 17.7 million tonnes (-300,000 tonnes or -2 percent) and even this was only due to a longer strike situation in the Finnish paper industry in the beginning of 2022. Thus 378,000 tonnes of paper, cellulose and plywood were handled at the Overseas Port last year, i.e. 327,000 tonnes less than in the previous year. The share of wheeled cargo in the total handling at Rostock Overseas port was 61 percent last year.

The number of truck units carried on the ferry and ro-ro connections to and from Northern Europe increased from 407,000 in 2021 to 410,000 last year, a growth of one percent. The number of trailers handled showed a stronger increase from 161,000 by five percent to just under 169,000 last year.

Ferry travel recovered after the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The number of cars and mobile homes carried between Northern Europe and Rostock amounted to 628,000, an increase by 46 percent. The result of the last pre-crisis year 2019 was even exceeded by 74,000 cars and mobile homes.

The number of railway wagons carried to and from Trelleborg dropped from 27,100 units in 2021 to 18,100 last year. In early 2021 a temporary closure of the Great Belt crossing in Denmark had created a special effect, pushing up traffic volumes at the Overseas Port.

Continuous growth in Intermodal Transport

The company Rostock Trimodal, who operate the cargo handling of intermodal transport units at Rostock Overseas Port, moved over 130,000 units in 2022 (+8 percent). Since the annual timetable change in December there are now 41 intermodal trains per week to and from Verona (16) in Italy, to and from Bratislava (6) in Slovakia, to and from Bettembourg (3) in Luxembourg, to and from Curtici (2) in Romania via Dresden (7), to and from Herne (6) and Halle (1) in Germany.

“During the last five years, intermodal transport in Rostock has increased by about 50 percent. The high level of customer demand demonstrates that there is increased interest in environmentally friendly transport chains and potential of intermodal railway traffic via the port site in Rostock. In order to be able to do justice to this demand also in the future we see the extension of further intermodal capabilities as a major contribution to strengthening the ferry and ro-ro network. At the same time this also results in a reduction of CO2 emissions by transports routed through Rostock. The large advantage of Rostock are the available railway track capacities at the port which allow for additional handling capabilities to be developed even at short notice”, says Dr. Gernot Tesch.

Projects and investments

Autolink Germany GmbH starts operating its car handling terminal

By completing the underpass under the street „Am Seehafen“ and at the same time connecting various areas in the southern part of the port, ROSTOCK PORT created the preconditions for the commissioning of the new car terminal at the port entrance over the last two years. With the support of DB Netz, two efficient branch tracks for the traffic areas created by the investor Autolink were also completed. Thus another environmentally friendly rail connection was implemented for cargo passing through the port. The operator of the new logistics terminal furthermore invested in two double-decker loading ramps at the ends of the tracks and built a bridge for cars crossing Ost-West-Strasse to berth 50 last year. The company Autolink opened the car terminal in September 2022 and imported 6,680 cars till the end of the year.

New building of berths 31 and 32

The replacement construction of the two oldest berths at Rostock Overseas Port, berths 31 and 32, officially started in April 2022. ROSTOCK PORT GmbH is the principal of this approx. Euro22 million port infrastructure project which is to be completed until October 2023.

Berths 31 and 32 on the eastern side of pier 2 at port basin B are 62 and 58 years old, respectively. They will be newly built on a total length of 400 metres, a width of 18 metres and for a draught of 12.50 metres. The quay will be designed for a surface load of five tonnes per square metre and it will be equipped with new crane rails capable of carrying 30 tonnes per metre over the entire length.

Berths 31 and 32 are rebuilt as multi-purpose berths for the handling of both project cargo as well as general and dry bulk cargo.

New building of Ost-West-Strasse

As part of stage 2 of the subsidy project to improve the traffic flow at the port the long overdue new building of a roughly 500 metres long section of the highly frequented Ost-West-Strasse at the Overseas Port was begun in the spring of 2022. Due to the intense use the road structure was completely worn out. Building activities of public operators of supply and disposal lines are being integrated into the extensive road building and civil engineering works and carried out simultaneously. These include the laying of new drinking water and district heating lines.

One special feature of this building measure is the construction and laying of a large drainage canal in the road structure and below two level crossings. The canal will be continued up to the transverse quay of berth 30 at port basin B in order to allow for areas south of Ost-West-Strasse to be developed for use by creating a receiving water of the correct dimensions. This building activity will continue until the summer of 2023. One particular challenge of this project is the routing and diversion of traffic in order to avoid interruptions especially in internal port traffic.

Second motorway junction to federal motorway A 19 opened

On the basis of planning activities performed by ROSTOCK PORT and lengthy preparations, Autobahn GmbH has carried out the new building of the partial junction between federal motorway A 19 and the industrial port since the beginning of 2022. The new connection which was financed by ROSTOCK PORT was opened for traffic in October 2022.

New building of a jetty facility at the oil port and road bridge at the tank farm

In December last year the 25-year-old northern jetty facility at berths 3 and 4 at Rostock oil port, which is about 120 metres long, was dismantled and replaced by a new, surface-coated steel structure. The jetty structure provides access to the mooring systems of the two berths. The old jetty structure which had consisted of four large steel segments just under 30 metres in length each as well as four smaller steel segments with lengths of three to eight metres was much corroded, making a replacement necessary. To this end both berths had to be closed to all shipping traffic for two weeks. ROSTOCK PORT invested just under one million Euros in this building project. Berth 3 is able to receive tankers up to 260 metres in length and at berth 4, tankers up to 230 metres in length can load or discharge crude oil, petroleum or other liquid goods as well.

In the summer of 2022 ROSTOCK PORT began the replacement construction of a road bridge at Rostock tank farm. The bridge on the premises of the tank farm at Rostock Overseas Port crosses a pipeline route along the street "Zum Tanklager". Due to numerous structural defects, the insufficient space underneath the superstructure and its limited bearing capacity it became necessary to build a new bridge. The new one is under construction on the south side of the existing structure. Construction is planned to take about a year and will end with the demolition of the old bridge in May 2023. The cost of construction is just under one million Euros.

New building of deep-water berth 5 at the oil port

In June 2022 ROSTOCK PORT commissioned a lead planning and project design for the construction of a deep-water berth in the eastern part of the existing oil port. Based on qualified and accelerated planning, a building permit is to be obtained as quickly as possible in order to upgrade berth 5 for future energy imports and provide sufficient amounts of renewable energies via Rostock. Over the next few years the German government will provide up to Euro50 million in subsidies to expand facilities as part of the Future Package PCK Schwedt and of strengthening the energy port Rostock.

Energy port Rostock: Hydrogen project clears important hurdle

The cornerstones of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern energy fund presented in November 2022 are an important signal also for the energy port Rostock. The funds earmarked by the German and state government to the tune of around Euro218 million are a decisive contribution to the implementation of the hydrogen production project „HyTechHafen Rostock“ at the newly established company „rostock Energy Port cooperation GmbH“. „This offers a unique opportunity for the port to develop first as a location for hydrogen production and prospectively as an import harbour for green sources of energy“, says Jens Scharner.

Development plan for the area between the oil port and the chemical port

The area of land between the oil port and the chemical port represents one of the last sizeable coherent areas for port use in the current special area of the port. The Hanseatic and University City of Rostock, represented by the office of urban development, urban planning and business, is preparing for the drawing-up of a supply-led development plan for this area which is sensitive  from a nature conservation perspective, together with ROSTOCK PORT. The approval to prepare the development plan is planned for the first half of 2023.

Provision of areas for port development

Demand für port-related areas close to the quays remains high. Larger, coherent areas at the Overseas Port are foreseeably running low. It is possible to increase the economic results generated by the seaport economy if the scarcity of space is overcome. The gratifying establishments of businesses and the extension projects of numerous companies established at the port were only possible until now due to the availability of space. It is therefore necessary to intensify the provision of port-related areas, especially also with regard to the various opportunities presented by the energy transition.

The provision of areas for long-term port development is being continued. The municipal and regional planning authorities are working on the process of drawing up a new preliminary municipal development planning – “land zoning” and/or redrawing the “future plan” of the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock – as well as of the regional planning. Together with the afore-mentioned partners, the Rostock Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation Rostock Business, ROSTOCK PORT has worked out a communication strategy to be presented in various decision-making bodies of the city as well as at the port panel. Its contents are to be implemented over the next few years. For further information and background:

Cruise shipping

Last year, 294,000 cruise travellers were counted during 139 port calls by 30 cruise vessels at Warnemünde Cruise Port. After the last two seasons of 2020 and 2021 which were very adversely affected by the pandemic, maritime tourism has been able to once again pick up some speed this year. The Russian war against Ukraine that has been going on since February 2022 had a negative influence on cruises around the Baltic Sea and thus on the number of ships calling at Warnemünde and the number of passengers coming here, the same as in many other cruise ports in the northern and eastern Baltic Sea. The average passenger occupancy level of all ships that called at Warnemünde was 56 percent. Even in January 2022 we still had notifications for more than 200 port calls during last year’s season at Rostock’s seaside resort.

25 cruise liners availed themselves of the opportunity to dispose of ship’s waste water directly into the public sewer system in the course of 113 port calls last year. All told nearly 45,000 cubic metres of ship’s waste water were thus disposed off in an environmentally friendly manner.

Eight cruise liners used environmentally friendly shore electricity during 13 port calls, totalling around 400,000 kilowatt hours: AIDAmar, AIDAsol, Celebrity Apex, Mein Schiff 4, Viking Jupiter, Viking Mars, Viking Star and Viking Venus.

For this year’s Warnemünde season, 22 cruise shipping companies have notified 133 port calls by 31 cruise liners. The season begins on 14 April 2023 with the arrival of AIDAdiva and ends on 28 December with the port call of Spirit of Discovery. Rostock-based shipping company AIDA Cruises will perform 65 port calls with changes of passengers at its home port of Warnemünde with AIDAdiva, AIDAmar and AIDAsol.

Statistics of Rostock Overseas Port for 2022

Main cargo types                         2021 (t)                          2022 (t)                Entwicklung in %              Anteil in %

Ferry & ro-ro goods                     18.000.000                       17.700.000                    -2 %                                    61 %

Dry bulk goods                              6.900.000                         7.200.000                   +4 %                                    25 %

Liquid goods                                 3.100.000                         3.450.000                   +10 %                                  12 %

General cargo                                  680.000                            625.000                     -9 %                                      2 %

total                                          28.680.000                      28.975.000                   +1 %                               100 %


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