December 2 - Port dues in Rotterdam next year will, by and large, stay the same as this year, says the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

This has been agreed by Deltalinqs (the Rotterdam business association for port and industrial companies), the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the VRC (Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers and Agents).

Inflation is always the starting point of the market consultation regarding rates. In 2012, this increase will be subject to a one-off compensation and furthermore, because of the uncertain economic tide, a discount of 3 percent will apply to most cargoes, the same as last year. "Clean inland shipping will also receive discounts," said a port authority statement.

Hans Smits, CEO of the Port Authority: "In addition to the Port Authority's considerable investments in the port area, we are continuing the discount in order to stimulate volumes. The crisis discount in 2010 and the recovery reduction in 2011 have worked well for Rotterdam. I expect that this discount will have the same effect in 2012."

Piet Hoogerwaard, chairman of the VRC: "The outcome shows that the port authority has an eye for the difficult situation in which different sectors find themselves. Rotterdam is responding to the current situation. That is a good sign for the shipping companies."

The starting point of the market consultation is that the rates keep pace with inflation. This means that the rates will increase in 2012 by 1.3 percent, compensated by a one-off discount of 1.3 percent for all sectors. On top of this, the one-off discount of 3 percent that applied to all commodities in 2011 will be continued.

For general cargo, some specific agreements have been made. This has resulted in an optimised rate structure for other general cargo as well. For administrative reasons, this optimisation will not take effect until 1 July 2012.

For the first time, Deltalinqs, the VRC and the port authority have agreed to keep open the possibility that rates are adjusted during the year. This could occur if there is an issue of serious decrease in one of the sectors (liquid bulk, dry bulk, containers, breakbulk).

Port dues are one of the port authority's income items and are charged to the shipping companies that visit Rotterdam. In 2010, the port authority received EUR275 million (USD370.6 million) in sea port dues and EUR13 million (USD17.5 million) in inland port dues.