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Rotterdam port warns on investment climate as throughput falls

Port authorities in Rotterdam, Europe’s largest sea port, on Tuesday said industrial companies could take their investments elsewhere if the Dutch government failed to support them through the energy transition.

“We are very worried about the deteriorating investment climate and the competitive edge of industry in the Netherlands”, port CEO Boudewijn Siemons said.

“The port of Rotterdam can play an important part in reaching national and European climate goals. Companies need to know where they stand,” he added.

Siemons said large investments were needed in the electricity grid, to allow for a massive increase of wind and solar power, and in infrastructure around the port.

He also flagged the supply of well-trained technicians as a point of great concern.

Elections in the Netherlands in November last year were won by the nationalist PVV party, after a campaign dominated by immigration issues.

PVV leader Geert Wilders has since unsuccessfully tried to form a governing coalition which would aim to restrict migration and the influx of foreign workers to the Netherlands, while taking a critical view on investments in climate policies.

In recent weeks, the CEOs of ASML, Europe’s largest technology firm, and chemicals company DSM-Firmenich warned that restricting labour migration could force them to invest outside the Netherlands.

The port on Tuesday said throughput fell by 6.1% in 2023 as slow economic growth, sanctions against Russia and tensions in the Middle East hit international trade.

Container freight at Rotterdam fell 7% while throughput of dry bulk was down 12%, it said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)

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