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Nov.10, 2014

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Page 18 of 79 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 19 PORT PRODUCTIVITY SPECIAL REPORT EUROPE'S TOP CONTAINER ports are hun- kering down for a potentially tumultuous 2015 dominated by a growing capacity glut and slowing cargo growth that will make the congestion of the past year appear like a minor irritant. On the surface, everything looks fine. Rotterdam and Hamburg, the two largest container hubs — and Nos. 2 and 7 in terms of berth productivity, accord- ing to first-half data compiled by JOC Group Inc. — have largely shrugged off the creeping congestion that culminated in ship diversions and hefty surcharges last summer, while terminals in some of the world's largest ports, from Los Angeles-Long Beach to Hong Kong, are gridlocked. Traffic figures are looking good, too, largely because of unexpectedly strong growth in Asian imports. Rotterdam's volume increased 4.2 percent in the first nine months of this year, to 9.2 mil- lion 20-foot-equivalent units, a major rebound from a 2.1 percent decline in 2013 and a feeble 0.3 percent increase in the first quarter. At neighboring Ant- werp, Europe's third-largest container port and eighth-best in terms of berth productivity, volume increased 5 percent in the first three quarters to more than 6.7 million TEUs. NOT ENOUGH CARGO TO GO AROUND With massive terminals coming online in Rotterdam, operators are bracing for intra-terminal rivalries and overcapacity By Bruce Barnard Axel Bueckert /

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