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Rotterdam Port core profit up 6% despite lack of Russian cargoes

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen in the Port of Rotterdam

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Port of Rotterdam's core profit rose by 6.1% last year despite a slight decline in throughput, it said on Thursday, as Russian coal, LNG and oil was replaced by other energy sources.

Europe's largest port said throughput fell 0.3% to 467.4 million tonnes but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 543.5 million euros ($575.6 million), mostly thanks to higher port fees.

The small change in throughput masked big changes in the composition of flows through the port.

Container traffic was down 5.5% as traffic to and from Russia "came to a virtual standstill after the invasion of Ukraine", the port said, though dry and liquid bulk from other destinations increased.

CEO Allard Castelein said that, while businesses had responded quickly to sanctions on Russia, the Ukraine war "demonstrated the risks for crucial sectors of strong dependence on one country".

Imports of LNG, mainly from the Unites States, increased by 63.9% in the rush for alternatives to Russian natural gas.

At the same time, coal imports rose by 17.9% as coal fired power plants, mostly in Germany, ramped up operations.

For 2023 the port is forecasting a small decline in throughput, in line with a European economy that the port expects to "stagnate".

($1 = 0.9442 euros)

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Toby Sterling; Editing by David Goodman)