October 8 - The first six months of 2010 saw project cargo tonnage at Rotterdam port double over the same period in 2009, say port managers, as the port witnessed some strategic improvements in heavy lift shipping at the port.

In the first six months of 2010, 245,000 tonnes of 'other general cargo' was handled 'at the buoys' in the Waalhaven basin. The 2009 total was 111,000 tonnes. This traffic was almost exclusively project cargo; hulls of inland vessels from China for completion at Dutch yards.

Most of the hulls arrived on towed pontoons and a number as deck cargo on specialised heavy cargo ships.

One factor in the growing heavy lift activity was the extension by forwarder Geodis Wilson of breakbulk and project cargo activity at the port. The project division is an important part of the forwarder's business, and the company has weekly out-of-gauge cargo which is loaded onto flatracks in the Waalhaven area and transported by barge to the container terminals in Rotterdam. During this period, the forwarder chartered breakbulk ships for clients who are active primarily in the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, Chipolbrok has added Rotterdam to its westbound RTW heavy lift service and BBC Chartering and Logistic frequently calls in Rotterdam on its Andino Express Line and the Americana Line from Europe to South America.

US shipping line Intermarine has included Rotterdam in its Europe - Brazil/South America liner service. Meanwhile, new line RollDock, the young Rotterdam-based heavy lift shipping company founded by a number of well-known Dutch shipping and heavy cargo specialists, has celebrated the first call in Rotterdam of the RollDock Sun.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has made no secret of its desire to improve its position in regards to the handling of steel, project cargo and refrigerated products.