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Rotterdam nets European record with 10 million containers in one year

Maas port first to surpass mark

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROTTERDAM — The port of Rotterdam is the first in Europe to surpass the 10 million container units (TEUs) handled in a single year. To celebrate this milestone, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Hans Smits presided over the forwarding of a specially painted container at the ECT Delta terminal.

A number of specially designated units containing some 40,000 footballs were shipped to projects in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tanzania, Mero Lebanon, Indonesia, the occupied Palestinian territories, Ghana and Benin. The 10 millionth container showing the phrase 'Where is this 10th mln container of Rotterdam going to?' was destined for one of these countries. Terminals, shipping companies and other service providers donated their shipping services. In addition, the Port Authority donated about $15,000 for the work of Right To Play, an international humanitarian organization that through sports and games contributes to the development and health of children in the most deprived regions of the world.


In 1968 Rotterdam handled some 117,000 TEU (standard units of 20 feet). Indicating the tremendous industry growth Rotterdam surpassed the threshold of 1 million (the year's total was 1,116,000) only two years later. The 5 million mark was reached in 1997, when the port processed a total of 5,495,000 TEUs. According to the port, a lineup of 10 million TEU containers stretches one and a half times round the world.

Container transshipment occurs round the clock. Every hour over 1100 TEU of up to 20 tonnes per unit are being unloaded and loaded. Officials anticipate that the port will reach another milestone in 2020: 25 million TEU a year.

A number of Asian ports have surpassed Rotterdam as the world's largest in recent decades.