PORT of Rotterdam Authority, responsible for the day-to-day running of Europe’s largest port, has reported a 2.6% increase in its revenues to €676.9m ($734m) for 2015 on the back of a healthy rise in throughput figures.
However, profits were down as the organisation moved to clear some of its existing debt.
The Dutch port’s 4.9% year-on-year increase in cargo volumes led to a €10.3m, or 3.4%, jump in harbour dues to $316.5m.
Site leasing, its primary source of income, rose by €3.3m, or 1%, to €340.8m, following the allocation of a site to Sif-Verbrugge at Maasvlakte II and the indexation of contracts and contract renewals at revised prices. This increase would have been even higher if not for the termination of its contract with Shtandart last year.
Despite these increases in the port authority’s core revenue streams, the settlement of a long-term loan involving a one-off payment of €19.2m agreed to help finance the construction of Maasvlakte II resulted in a 1.7% fall in profits to €211.6m.
Nevertheless, Port of Rotterdam Authority chief financial officer Paul Smits said that the financial situation showed a positive development. “For the second consecutive year after the construction of Maasvlakte II the cash flow is positive, which allows us to continue to invest in the port and at the same time improve our debt position.
“The fact that our revenues have not increased to the same extent as the throughput shows that we are making an effort to keep Rotterdam attractive for business."
The port authority also reported a 3.3% rise in operational expenses to €133.6m due to higher costs for the management and maintenance of port infrastructure and investments in innovations such as PortXL and SmartPort.
In conformity with long-term agreements, the port authority said that it would propose to its shareholders to pay dividends of €91m (+2%) for 2015, €64.5m to its majority shareholder the municipality of Rotterdam and €26.5 million to the state, which owns the remaining shares in the port.
In other news, the port authority said that it was disappointed that the European Commission had announced that it would have to pay corporation tax from 1 January 2017.
The port authority said the nearly €100m investment portfolio earmarked for the coming years, including the diversion of approximately 4 km of the port railway line via the Theemsweg, was related to enhancing public infrastructure, which at neighbouring rival ports falls under the responsibility of the government.
Therefore, the port authority said, it is considering an appeal against this decision on the grounds that it violates the principle that a level playing field should exist within Europe