Rotterdam wants to treble capacity
Rotterdam wants to treble capacity.
Europe`s largest port, the Port of Rotterdam, plans to triple its container handling capacity by 2035 as current congestion at ports threatens to impede global economic growth.
Han Smits, CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority, says container throughput at the port increased 4% in 2006 to 9.7 million TEUs but is rapidly accelerating, with a further 10% increase in the first quarter of 2007, compared to last year.
Smits adds that those ports able to handle more throughput “will profit most from the booming cargo flows”.
“Spatial planning procedures and the time needed to build infrastructure are more or less the same all over Europe,” he explains.
This year, Rotterdam plans to add 1.7 million TEUs to its current 10 million TEU capacity. Over the next five years, an extra 4.5 million TEUs will be added.
The port will get a further boost in 2013 when the first terminal at the Maasvlakte 2 reclamation project comes into operation.
“By 2035, this port expansion will increase Rotterdam`s capacity by some 20 million TEUs to some 35 million TEUs.”
Smits` comments come as ports experience bottlenecks due to increase in global trade.
At the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) last month, delegates from Europe and other countries convened in Sofia, Bulgaria to discuss a single issue for the first time: “Congestion: A Global Challenge”.
Ron Widdows, CEO of Sinagpore-based container shipping line APL, said transportation infrastructure cannot keep pace with growth in global trade. By 2010, he says global container volumes will double the level of 2000.
This congestion is having a significant impact, Widdows says, with only 46% of container vessels arriving at ports on time in the first quarter of 2007 - the lowest level on record. At Rotterdam, 35% arrived on time while in European ports overall, less than 30% of the vessels were on time.