Inland container shipping partnership along West-Brabant–Rotterdam route
Barge Terminal Tilburg, Combined Cargo Terminals, Moerdijk Container Terminals and Danser Group have joined forces, agreeing to combine cargo along the route between Tilburg, Moerdijk and the port of Rotterdam. According to the press release of the Port of Rotterdam, this allows them to cut back on the number of vessels required – resulting in less congestion during handling in the port of Rotterdam. The collaboration between these private parties and Rotterdam’s deep sea terminals in the ‘West-Brabant Corridor’ is the first concrete initiative supported by the Port of Rotterdam Authority within the incentive scheme and sector consultation programme launched in 2017.
In practice, the collaboration means that vessels that call on multiple terminals in Moerdijk and Tilburg will be combining cargo destined for a single deep sea container terminal in the port of Rotterdam – and vice versa. “Sea-going container vessels are becoming bigger and bigger,” says Luc Smits, Managing Director of Combined Cargo Terminals in Moerdijk. “And the ‘hinterland’ will need to follow suit by bundling cargo and thinking in terms of corridors rather than simply lining up on the water. This ensures that inland shipping remains a reliable and competitive transport option.”
The initiative came out of the sector-wide inland container shipping consultations launched by the Port of Rotterdam Authority on 8 September of last year. This consultation was organised in response to various reports of increased waiting times at Rotterdam’s deep sea terminals. “We are delighted with the decision of the deep sea terminals, inland terminals and transport companies to take this step and work together,” says Emile Hoogsteden, Director of Containers, Breakbulk & Logistics of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “It’s good to see these parties thinking in terms of their common interest as a chain, so that they can help improve the smooth handling of inland container flows. This allows us to jointly contribute to the on-going development of Rotterdam and the Netherlands as Europe’s most efficient and reliable logistics hub.”
Every year, over 12 million TEU of containers are handled in the port of Rotterdam, of which over 3 million are shipped in and out by inland vessel. “Collaboration along the main corridors is of vital importance,” adds Wil Versteijnen on behalf of Barge Terminal Tilburg. “It results in scaling up, which is a crucial requirement for every player in the chain.” It’s also why the participants have decided on an ‘open access’ policy for this service, which means any shipper is free to use it. “And the fact that combining vessels has improved capacity utilisation even further is also good news from an environmental perspective,” says Ben Maelissa, Managing Director of the Danser Group.
The initiative also aligns with the cargo transport corridors programme approach, in which the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Provinces, the Dutch port authorities, Topsector Logistiek and the private sector work together on the development of ‘Topcorridors’.
The launch of the West-Brabant Corridor is funded in part by the incentive scheme established by the Port of Rotterdam Authority during the first consultation meeting for the inland container shipping sector. A total of 3 million euros have been reserved to this end. This budget can be used to support private sector initiatives that can contribute to a more reliable and efficient handling of Rotterdam’s inland container flows in the short term. Parties were free to submit proposals until 1 January 2018.
This initiative also receives financial support from Moerdijk. The West-Brabant Corridor is one of the initiatives that contribute to the objectives set out in the Logistieke Innovatieagenda, a partnership between Port of Moerdijk, logistics service providers in Moerdijk and TNO. This ‘innovation agenda’ is intended to further optimise Moerdijk’s position as a logistics hub and improve sustainability.