Investment in rail infrastructure is paying off for Port of Rotterdam

The estimated growth potential of the combined traffic to and from Rotterdam in 2015 is very high, compared to that of neighboring ports Antwerp, Bremerhaven, and Hamburg.

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The combined rail traffic to and from the northern EU seaports will rise yet again, says a recent study. But Rotterdam will gain the most share.

According to the German research MWP and the “Innovative Logistics FILog Forschungsgemeinschaft” study comprising more than 100 companies, the estimated growth potential of the combined traffic to and from Rotterdam in 2015 is very high, compared to that of neighboring ports Antwerp, Bremerhaven, and Hamburg.

The news follows reports elsewhere in the trade press about Rotterdam’s growing dominance in an “all-water” strategic direction anticipated after the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014.

Goods throughput in the port of Rotterdam increased over the first nine months of 2010 by 13.4 percent to 321 million tons. Virtually all categories of goods showed a positive trend.

“The growth is leveling off, but is still slightly higher than expected,” said Hans Smits, chief executive of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “The port continues to profit from strong European exports, for which a lot of raw materials also need to be imported. Total throughput is now exactly at the 2008 level.”

In an interview conducted shortly after this report was made public, another prominent industry analyst said investment in rail will pay off handsomely for Rotterdam:

“Back when other ports were cutting back on spending money for infrastructure, Rotterdam was spending more,” said Jürgen Sorgenfrei, director consulting services, maritime & hinterland logistics for IHS Global Insight in Frankfurt, Germany.

“We imagine that a very complete and aggressive move will be made by carriers to restore the ‘round-the-world’ service again in the coming years. If that happens, expect Rotterdam to increase its rail activity both on-dock and near-dock.”

When choosing a provider for combined rail, the weight of qualitative factors is rising, said researchers. Sustainability was cited by most survey respondents, as was price.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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