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Rotterdam operators business under pressure

Independent storage operators at the Dutch port are facing a squeeze while Antwerp has seen growth in volumes

Long-term, Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) gateways are benefiting from structural changes in world oil flows – but 2013 saw a downturn in business conditions, particularly for the Rotterdam operators. Continuing headwinds are forecast for the coming year. The downturn in Rotterdam storage tracks back to the EU upping the pressure against Iran’s nuclear plans in July 2012, when it banned the import and handling of Iranian oil. The move resulted in empty tanks in Rotterdam, at a time when price backwardation – futures prices lower than prompt – was trimming demand for storage capacity. The drive to re-let the empty space, in a flat market, led to downward pressures on fees. Vopak

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