Port of Rotterdam logistics issues persist after oil spill

29 June 2018 17:05 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Difficulties entering and leaving the port of Rotterdam after an oil spill are continuing, according to sources, despite clean-up efforts being well underway.

The spill, which took place in the Botlek area of the port on Saturday 23 June, initially saw the port closed to incoming or outgoing vessels but port authorities now say it remains at captain’s risk and liability to enter the harbour and berth.

As some oil is still floating around in the harbour, ships that do enter need to be cleaned before leaving the port, with sources saying there is still a considerable queue of vessels and barges waiting to be cleaned.

Port authorities have acknowledged the need for increased cleaning capacity but do not expect significant changes in the situation over the weekend.

One shipping source said that all of its boats have been stuck in queues either to be loaded or cleaned throughout Friday.

An ethanol buyer also confirmed that its loading ship had entered the port and loaded but was queueing to be cleaned before it can leave.

A lack of access to chemicals in the terminal could cause production issues for related downstream products if the situation does not improve in the coming week.

An ETBE source said that without being able to load ethanol at its main EU hub, it could complicate feedstock supply for the market.

Odjfell posted on its website this week that it would not be able to meet all of its obligations towards its customers at this time.

Despite the difficulties, one shipping source praised the port’s response, saying that the spill “could have been a lot worse”.

“[The] port responded quickly and reduced damages really quickly.”

Another port source said the affected area is much cleaner but jetties are still dirty and so most boats are not coming in, before adding that it was unsure how long it would take to ease the logistical issues.

Additional reporting by Clare Pennington and Sarah Trinder

By Niall Swan