Home / Shipping News / Port News / Port of the Month: Port of Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

Port of the Month: Port of Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

ESPO’s port of the month is the Port of Rotterdam. With an annual throughput which amounts to some 450 million tonnes and a vast industrial complex, the Port of Rotterdam can be considered as Europe’s largest port. Through some targeted questions, we would like to offer you more insight in the functioning of this impressive port!

ESPO: Can you briefly tell us about the Port of Rotterdam? What are its main characteristics and challenges?

Rotterdam: The Port of Rotterdam’s annual throughput amounts to some 450 million tonnes. This makes the Port of Rotterdam the largest port in Europe. The port area includes 12,500 ha (land and water, of which approx. 6,000 ha are business sites). The total length of the port area is more than 40 km. Approximately 30,000 seagoing vessels and 110,000 inland vessels visit the Port of Rotterdam every year. The Port of Rotterdam is both a global hub and a strong industrial cluster. Currently, the port faces various challenges, including: the shifts in the energy sector, the emergence of the bio-based and circular economy as well as the increase in scale of container shipping in combination with the formation of alliances among shipping companies. The Port of Rotterdam copes with these challenges by nourishing existing large-scale sectors and at the same time by innovating and expanding the port’s portfolio.

ESPO: Can you briefly tell us about the Port of Rotterdam? What are its main characteristics and challenges?

Rotterdam: The Port of Rotterdam’s annual throughput amounts to some 450 million tonnes. This makes the Port of Rotterdam the largest port in Europe. The port area includes 12,500 ha (land and water, of which approx. 6,000 ha are business sites). The total length of the port area is more than 40 km. Approximately 30,000 seagoing vessels and 110,000 inland vessels visit the Port of Rotterdam every year. The Port of Rotterdam is both a global hub and a strong industrial cluster. Currently, the port faces various challenges, including: the shifts in the energy sector, the emergence of the bio-based and circular economy as well as the increase in scale of container shipping in combination with the formation of alliances among shipping companies. The Port of Rotterdam copes with these challenges by nourishing existing large-scale sectors and at the same time by innovating and expanding the port’s portfolio.

ESPO: The Port of Rotterdam’s annual throughput amounts to some 450 million tonnes. Needless to say, a good access to the hinterland is indispensable to get goods to the desired destinations. Could you briefly tell us how the port is connected with the hinterland? Are you planning new projects to facilitate these connections?

Rotterdam: The Port of Rotterdam has made modal split agreements with all terminals on Maasvlakte 1 and 2. More cargo should however be transported by rail and barge, on the one hand because of the accessibility of the port and the environment, on the other because many destinations – e.g. in southern Germany and Central Europe – are not attractive for road transport and not accessible by barge.

To be able to enhance the share of rail transport, the Port of Rotterdam puts effort in both removing bottlenecks in the physical infrastructure (rerouting rail transport at the Caland railway bridge, increasing rail capacity between Emmerich and Oberhausen) and facilitating the set-up of new train shuttles and increasing the frequency of existing shuttles. Therefore, it is necessary to combine the containers of the different terminals (via the Container Exchange Route) in order to gain enough mass to exploit profitable trains. Furthermore, the Port of Rotterdam has set up a rail incubator project to support the development of the rail product. Among others, the project ensures financial support for companies setting up new rail connections, which are not yet profitable.

ESPO: The Port of Rotterdam is a leading port in Europe when it comes to the handling of containerised cargo and bulk goods. How is the business evolving? What are the main challenges?

Rotterdam: Throughput of crude oil is increasing strongly. One of the main reasons for this increase is the low price of oil, which provides higher margins for refineries. This applies not only to the five refineries in Rotterdam, the five in Germany, Antwerp and Vlissingen, which are supplied from Rotterdam, but also in Russia. Especially the latter produces a relatively large amount of fuel oil which is shipped via Rotterdam to the Far East. The throughput of LNG is also growing strongly. As gas prices in Asia have dropped significantly and are now comparable to those in Europe, the supply is increasing in Rotterdam. Dry bulk shows a slight downward trend because German steel production has not really increased and Europe imports more steel from China via southern European ports. Container throughput is at the same level, which is mainly caused by the lower Chinese exports, the limited growth of emerging economies such as Brazil, and the deterioration of the Russian economy which reduces throughput of containers (short sea and feeder traffic) to Europe. Moreover, the new terminals on Maasvlakte 2 are not yet at adequate speed to handle large volumes.

ESPO: In 2013, the Port of Rotterdam opened “Maasvlakte 2”, an important expansion project establishing a new port and industrial area. What were the motives for this expansion?

Rotterdam: Rotterdam’s port and industrial area stretch from the city to the North Sea and comprise some 6,000 ha of industrial sites. After the Second World War, the port constantly developed, following the private sector’s consistently strong demand. For example, Rotterdam constructed the Botlek in the 1950s, Europoort in the 1960s and the Maasvlakte in the 1970s. In the 1990’s the Rotterdam port was running up against its limits in terms of space. The existing port and industrial area had virtually no space left for new companies and existing clients who wish to expand. The deepsea-related container sector and the chemical sector in particular required more space. It was expected that the container ships of the future would have a deeper draught than most European ports can accommodate. By effectively responding to this development, through the construction of a 20-m deep port located directly on the sea, Rotterdam could assure itself of a unique position in the market.

ESPO: The Port of Rotterdam plays a key role in the supply of energy for Northwest Europe. Energy is high on the EU political agenda. Is the Port of Rotterdam developing a strategy to respond to the new challenges in the field of energy, such as an alternative energy mix, energy efficiency and reducing the effects of climate change?

Rotterdam: The Port of Rotterdam has grown thanks to fossil fuels. Initially as a transit port for the Ruhr, after WWII, the focus was on creating added value and employment in the port itself. Rotterdam has grown into a global scale petrochemical complex, similar to Houston, Singapore and Shanghai. Nowadays, Rotterdam is home to 90% of oil refining, 40% of basic chemicals and 20% of electricity production in the Netherlands. CO2 emissions in Rotterdam have grown less rapidly than the port economy. In the past 10 years, cargo traffic has grown by 26%, the added value by 21% and employment by 17%, while CO2 emissions have increased by 5%. The installations in the port are becoming more energy efficient through continuous improvements to existing processes and by replacing old plants and plant parts with new ones. The ambition of Rotterdam is an absolute decoupling of economic growth and CO2 emissions, in other words to obtain sustainable growth. Because of the geographical density and scale of emissions, there are opportunities for efficient large-scale solutions. There are three complementary types of measures to reduce CO2 emissions:

Energy efficiency: the energy you don’t use does not cause emissions (residual heat, rest steam, CO2 for greenhouses);
Renewable energy: what you use as renewable energy does not add emissions to the atmosphere (wind, solar, biochemistry, biofuels and circular economy);
CO2 capture and storage: the amount of CO2 which is caused by the use of fossil energy could be captured and stored so that it is prevented to get into the atmosphere (ROAD demonstration project).

ESPO: In the Port of Rotterdam, import and export of LNG is already taking place on a large scale. How does the Port of Rotterdam estimate the future potential of LNG for Northwest Europe?

Rotterdam: The LNG throughput is growing fast. The Port of Rotterdam expects that the use of LNG will further increase and it has the ambition of becoming the LNG hub of Europe. Therefore, Rotterdam has strategically chosen to invest in the infrastructure for LNG and to adjust the regulations so that LNG bunkering of ships is possible. In this regard, the GATE terminal is already realised. It is a large-scale LNG import terminal which will contribute to the diversification of the energy supply in Europe. Furthermore, a breakbulk terminal is being built. This terminal allows to ship smaller amounts of LNG for bunkering vessels and trucks. The Port of Rotterdam is working with dozens of partners, including the EU, along the Rhine to develop LNG as transport fuel (LNG Masterplan). LNG as fuel for maritime, inland waterways and road transport has a positive effect on the environment and noise pollution. The Port of Rotterdam encourages shipping to switch to this cleaner fuel. Barges with a Green Award certificate or a high score on the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) receive a discount on port dues. Since December 2015, seagoing vessels which bunker LNG in Rotterdam, may also be eligible for a discount of 10 percent on gross port dues on the basis of the new scheme.

ESPO: In 2015, the Port of Rotterdam has received for the second time the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, which is the only port sector specific environmental management standard. In view of this, could you briefly describe the port’s environmental policies?

Rotterdam: Together with several parties, the Port Authority is committed to a strong port and a liveable environment. The only way for the port area to grow in a balanced way is by caring about its surroundings and the environment. We do this by adopting a three-level approach:

We improve the performance of the Port of Rotterdam Authority in various ways: by a fleet using low-sulphur fuel, by the use of soot filters and catalytic converters on new vessels, by ‘green’ flights and green fleet of cars, , by an active nature policy, by a clear assessment framework for air-related measures and a basis for sustainability in allocation policy.
We foster sustainable enterprise in the port area with the following measures: Container Transferium Alblasserdam (truck to barge), co-siting geared towards energy saving, carbon collection, transport and storage, shared use of steam, voluntary agreement nautical service providers on use of low-sulphur fuel, shore-based power for inland shipping and StenaLine Hoek van Holland and Rotterdam Climate Initiative.
We call for sustainable innovation in the entire supply chain with modal split demands in terminal Maasvlakte 2, the environmental zone Maasvlakte 2, a discount for clean ships with Environmental Ship Index (ESI), the encouragement of clean engines in inland shipping, a Green Award for inland shipping and International cooperation with other ports: World Ports Climate Initiative.

ESPO: ESPO’s next annual conference will look into ways of making the logistic chain more efficient. What is Rotterdam doing to optimise the logistic chain? What are the barriers?

Rotterdam: A higher efficiency in the logistics chain can be achieved through better cooperation between chain partners, information exchange and transparency. It should be responding to the wishes and needs of the players in the chain, including shippers and shipping companies. The use of existing data, new data and smart combinations of data can help because it makes the chain more transparent. One of the main services is the Port Community System of Portbase. Via the Port Community System, more than 40 different services are currently available to all sectors in the Dutch ports, ranging from export documentation to barge planning and drawing up (un)loading lists. Other key projects of the Port of Rotterdam in this context are Next Logic (optimising the container supply chain for inland navigation), Container Exchange Route (optimising container rail freight) and InlandLinks (optimising intermodal routes). It is important that the European Commission has an eye for the opportunities that data and ICT offer for the logistics sector. The question is how Europe can support and encourage this new development.

ESPO: The 2016 edition of the ESPO conference will, among other topics, focus on the potential impact of trade agreements on ports. Currently, the European Commission is negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. Can you briefly explain how this trade agreement could be of interest for your port?

Rotterdam: It is expected that after TTIP will be ratified, the European economy will grow by 0.5% and the US economy by 0.4%. Additional economic activities may result in additional import and export. In this respect, it is important to see to what extent the European manufacturing industry and the market can increase further due to TTIP. If successful, the Port of Rotterdam might profit not only by increasing the import of goods and commodities, but also by the export of European finished products. It seems that the oil export ban in the US has ended, but nothing is sure for gas. These new markets may influence the position of the Port of Rotterdam as a fuel hub positively.

ESPO: ESPO is a partner of PORTOPIA, an FP7 project that aims to measure port performance. What is Rotterdam’s approach for measuring the port’s performance?

Rotterdam: The Port Vision 2030 sets out the ambitions for the future of the port of Rotterdam and describes the ten crucial success factors. Each of those factors relates to a certain aspect of the port and an ambition has been formulated for each of them. Each year a progress report is published, which offers a quantitative summary of the Port of Rotterdam’s actual development. The report offers a variety of indicators that illustrate the Port’s financial and economic significance as well as the current quality of its residential and business climate, local ecology and social environment. Viewed in conjunction, these indicators illustrate as clearly as possible whether Rotterdam is indeed making headway in its ambitions to become the most sustainable and efficient port in Europe. Next to the Port Vision reports, the port of Rotterdam’s website offers a wide insight in all facts and figures of the port’s performance.

Rotterdam: The Port of Rotterdam has made modal split agreements with all terminals on Maasvlakte 1 and 2. More cargo should however be transported by rail and barge, on the one hand because of the accessibility of the port and the environment, on the other because many destinations – e.g. in southern Germany and Central Europe – are not attractive for road transport and not accessible by barge.

To be able to enhance the share of rail transport, the Port of Rotterdam puts effort in both removing bottlenecks in the physical infrastructure (rerouting rail transport at the Caland railway bridge, increasing rail capacity between Emmerich and Oberhausen) and facilitating the set-up of new train shuttles and increasing the frequency of existing shuttles. Therefore, it is necessary to combine the containers of the different terminals (via the Container Exchange Route) in order to gain enough mass to exploit profitable trains. Furthermore, the Port of Rotterdam has set up a rail incubator project to support the development of the rail product. Among others, the project ensures financial support for companies setting up new rail connections, which are not yet profitable.

ESPO: The Port of Rotterdam is a leading port in Europe when it comes to the handling of containerised cargo and bulk goods. How is the business evolving? What are the main challenges?

Rotterdam: Throughput of crude oil is increasing strongly. One of the main reasons for this increase is the low price of oil, which provides higher margins for refineries. This applies not only to the five refineries in Rotterdam, the five in Germany, Antwerp and Vlissingen, which are supplied from Rotterdam, but also in Russia. Especially the latter produces a relatively large amount of fuel oil which is shipped via Rotterdam to the Far East. The throughput of LNG is also growing strongly. As gas prices in Asia have dropped significantly and are now comparable to those in Europe, the supply is increasing in Rotterdam. Dry bulk shows a slight downward trend because German steel production has not really increased and Europe imports more steel from China via southern European ports. Container throughput is at the same level, which is mainly caused by the lower Chinese exports, the limited growth of emerging economies such as Brazil, and the deterioration of the Russian economy which reduces throughput of containers (short sea and feeder traffic) to Europe. Moreover, the new terminals on Maasvlakte 2 are not yet at adequate speed to handle large volumes.

ESPO: In 2013, the Port of Rotterdam opened “Maasvlakte 2”, an important expansion project establishing a new port and industrial area. What were the motives for this expansion?

Rotterdam: Rotterdam’s port and industrial area stretch from the city to the North Sea and comprise some 6,000 ha of industrial sites. After the Second World War, the port constantly developed, following the private sector’s consistently strong demand. For example, Rotterdam constructed the Botlek in the 1950s, Europoort in the 1960s and the Maasvlakte in the 1970s. In the 1990’s the Rotterdam port was running up against its limits in terms of space. The existing port and industrial area had virtually no space left for new companies and existing clients who wish to expand. The deepsea-related container sector and the chemical sector in particular required more space. It was expected that the container ships of the future would have a deeper draught than most European ports can accommodate. By effectively responding to this development, through the construction of a 20-m deep port located directly on the sea, Rotterdam could assure itself of a unique position in the market.

ESPO: The Port of Rotterdam plays a key role in the supply of energy for Northwest Europe. Energy is high on the EU political agenda. Is the Port of Rotterdam developing a strategy to respond to the new challenges in the field of energy, such as an alternative energy mix, energy efficiency and reducing the effects of climate change?

Rotterdam: The Port of Rotterdam has grown thanks to fossil fuels. Initially as a transit port for the Ruhr, after WWII, the focus was on creating added value and employment in the port itself. Rotterdam has grown into a global scale petrochemical complex, similar to Houston, Singapore and Shanghai. Nowadays, Rotterdam is home to 90% of oil refining, 40% of basic chemicals and 20% of electricity production in the Netherlands. CO2 emissions in Rotterdam have grown less rapidly than the port economy. In the past 10 years, cargo traffic has grown by 26%, the added value by 21% and employment by 17%, while CO2 emissions have increased by 5%. The installations in the port are becoming more energy efficient through continuous improvements to existing processes and by replacing old plants and plant parts with new ones. The ambition of Rotterdam is an absolute decoupling of economic growth and CO2 emissions, in other words to obtain sustainable growth. Because of the geographical density and scale of emissions, there are opportunities for efficient large-scale solutions. There are three complementary types of measures to reduce CO2 emissions:

Energy efficiency: the energy you don’t use does not cause emissions (residual heat, rest steam, CO2 for greenhouses);
Renewable energy: what you use as renewable energy does not add emissions to the atmosphere (wind, solar, biochemistry, biofuels and circular economy);
CO2 capture and storage: the amount of CO2 which is caused by the use of fossil energy could be captured and stored so that it is prevented to get into the atmosphere (ROAD demonstration project).

ESPO: In the Port of Rotterdam, import and export of LNG is already taking place on a large scale. How does the Port of Rotterdam estimate the future potential of LNG for Northwest Europe?

Rotterdam: The LNG throughput is growing fast. The Port of Rotterdam expects that the use of LNG will further increase and it has the ambition of becoming the LNG hub of Europe. Therefore, Rotterdam has strategically chosen to invest in the infrastructure for LNG and to adjust the regulations so that LNG bunkering of ships is possible. In this regard, the GATE terminal is already realised. It is a large-scale LNG import terminal which will contribute to the diversification of the energy supply in Europe. Furthermore, a breakbulk terminal is being built. This terminal allows to ship smaller amounts of LNG for bunkering vessels and trucks. The Port of Rotterdam is working with dozens of partners, including the EU, along the Rhine to develop LNG as transport fuel (LNG Masterplan). LNG as fuel for maritime, inland waterways and road transport has a positive effect on the environment and noise pollution. The Port of Rotterdam encourages shipping to switch to this cleaner fuel. Barges with a Green Award certificate or a high score on the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) receive a discount on port dues. Since December 2015, seagoing vessels which bunker LNG in Rotterdam, may also be eligible for a discount of 10 percent on gross port dues on the basis of the new scheme.

ESPO: In 2015, the Port of Rotterdam has received for the second time the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, which is the only port sector specific environmental management standard. In view of this, could you briefly describe the port’s environmental policies?

Rotterdam: Together with several parties, the Port Authority is committed to a strong port and a liveable environment. The only way for the port area to grow in a balanced way is by caring about its surroundings and the environment. We do this by adopting a three-level approach:

We improve the performance of the Port of Rotterdam Authority in various ways: by a fleet using low-sulphur fuel, by the use of soot filters and catalytic converters on new vessels, by ‘green’ flights and green fleet of cars, , by an active nature policy, by a clear assessment framework for air-related measures and a basis for sustainability in allocation policy.
We foster sustainable enterprise in the port area with the following measures: Container Transferium Alblasserdam (truck to barge), co-siting geared towards energy saving, carbon collection, transport and storage, shared use of steam, voluntary agreement nautical service providers on use of low-sulphur fuel, shore-based power for inland shipping and StenaLine Hoek van Holland and Rotterdam Climate Initiative.
We call for sustainable innovation in the entire supply chain with modal split demands in terminal Maasvlakte 2, the environmental zone Maasvlakte 2, a discount for clean ships with Environmental Ship Index (ESI), the encouragement of clean engines in inland shipping, a Green Award for inland shipping and International cooperation with other ports: World Ports Climate Initiative.

ESPO: ESPO’s next annual conference will look into ways of making the logistic chain more efficient. What is Rotterdam doing to optimise the logistic chain? What are the barriers?

Rotterdam: A higher efficiency in the logistics chain can be achieved through better cooperation between chain partners, information exchange and transparency. It should be responding to the wishes and needs of the players in the chain, including shippers and shipping companies. The use of existing data, new data and smart combinations of data can help because it makes the chain more transparent. One of the main services is the Port Community System of Portbase. Via the Port Community System, more than 40 different services are currently available to all sectors in the Dutch ports, ranging from export documentation to barge planning and drawing up (un)loading lists. Other key projects of the Port of Rotterdam in this context are Next Logic (optimising the container supply chain for inland navigation), Container Exchange Route (optimising container rail freight) and InlandLinks (optimising intermodal routes). It is important that the European Commission has an eye for the opportunities that data and ICT offer for the logistics sector. The question is how Europe can support and encourage this new development.

ESPO: The 2016 edition of the ESPO conference will, among other topics, focus on the potential impact of trade agreements on ports. Currently, the European Commission is negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. Can you briefly explain how this trade agreement could be of interest for your port?

Rotterdam: It is expected that after TTIP will be ratified, the European economy will grow by 0.5% and the US economy by 0.4%. Additional economic activities may result in additional import and export. In this respect, it is important to see to what extent the European manufacturing industry and the market can increase further due to TTIP. If successful, the Port of Rotterdam might profit not only by increasing the import of goods and commodities, but also by the export of European finished products. It seems that the oil export ban in the US has ended, but nothing is sure for gas. These new markets may influence the position of the Port of Rotterdam as a fuel hub positively.

ESPO: ESPO is a partner of PORTOPIA, an FP7 project that aims to measure port performance. What is Rotterdam’s approach for measuring the port’s performance?

Rotterdam: The Port Vision 2030 sets out the ambitions for the future of the port of Rotterdam and describes the ten crucial success factors. Each of those factors relates to a certain aspect of the port and an ambition has been formulated for each of them. Each year a progress report is published, which offers a quantitative summary of the Port of Rotterdam’s actual development. The report offers a variety of indicators that illustrate the Port’s financial and economic significance as well as the current quality of its residential and business climate, local ecology and social environment. Viewed in conjunction, these indicators illustrate as clearly as possible whether Rotterdam is indeed making headway in its ambitions to become the most sustainable and efficient port in Europe. Next to the Port Vision reports, the port of Rotterdam’s website offers a wide insight in all facts and figures of the port’s performance.
Source: ESPO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

captcha

Please enter the CAPTCHA text

Recent Videos

Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping