A strategic location directly on the North Sea, 24/7 unrestricted access, dedicated service providers and a wide choice of hinterland transport: Rotterdam is the container port of Europe. This makes Rotterdam the logical first port of call in Europe for the Ultra Large Container Carriers (ULCCs) of today and tomorrow.
On the land side too, Rotterdam has optimum accessibility. Freight barges, trains and trucks cover the greater part of the European continent on a daily basis:
- Inland shipping: Rotterdam is located strategically at the mouth of the rivers Rhine and Maas. This makes inland shipping the ideal mode of transport for the reliable and cost-effective transportation of large numbers of containers between the port and a complex network of inland terminals in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
- Rail: For trains, the port is the start and end of the Betuweroute, the 160-kilometre dedicated freight railway between Rotterdam and Germany. As a result, the port is linked directly to the complex European rail network.
- Road: Rotterdam also enjoys optimum accessibility by road. Trucks leaving Rotterdam in the afternoon are in Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Geneva or London the next morning.
From the perspective of sustainability and efficiency, the Port of Rotterdam Authority actively promotes the use of rail and inland shipping. Virtually all of the container terminals in the port have their own extensive rail and inland shipping facilities (or have made preparations for them). This means that trains and freight barges can always count on the fastest possible handling.
The total number of services has continued to decrease in recent years; Rotterdam is still the port with the most services (50) and is usually the first port of call (23 times). As a result, rapid transit times (in comparison with other ports) can be achieved via transhipment to many different ports in Europe.
Due to the unrestricted depth and the location of container terminals directly on the North Sea, Rotterdam is the logical first port of call in Europe for many deep-sea shipping lines. This also makes the port an attractive relay location and feeder hub. Rotterdam is the territory of numerous rival feeder operators. From the port, they maintain regular connections with, among other places, the UK, Ireland, the Iberian Peninsula and the Scan/Baltic region. Via the so-called Feeder Platform, the Port of Rotterdam Authority promotes optimum cooperation with the terminals.
The Portbase Port Community System makes the services offered by the port of Rotterdam even more complete. Via Portbase’s electronic services, companies can exchange information extremely efficiently, not only with Customs, the Harbour Master and other authorities, but also with others in the supply chain, and in this way save time and money.
Rotterdam is building a port area in the North Sea covering 1000 net hectares, with plenty of room for new deep-sea container facilities, specially for the handling of ULCCs. In 2013, the first container ships will be able to moor here at the Rotterdam World Gateway terminal (a consortium of terminal operator DP World and the shipping lines APL, Hyundai, MOL and CMA CGM), and a year later at a new APMT terminal. The Euromax Terminal will also expand in time from the current Maasvlakte to the new port area. But afterwards too, Maasvlakte 2 will offer plenty of room for further container expansion.