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Date 7/1/2008 
Source Other ©

Dutch inland terminals perform well 

The inland terminals of Tilburg, Waalwijk, Venlo and the four BCTN (*) terminals performed very well in 2007. Together, they handled almost 700,000 TEU. Tilburg Barge Terminal processed 141,000 TEU, 50% more than the previous year. TCT Venlo easily topped the hundred thousand, with 112,000 TEU (+27%) rail containers and throughput at Waalwijk was almost 20% up, at 24,000 TEU. The BCTN terminals recorded a 16% increase, to 403,000 TEU by inland shipping. With a joint 635,000 TEU by rail and inland shipping, the seven terminals account for 40% of the total for VITO terminals (the association representing the majority of Dutch inland terminals).

Although there was a sharp increase in truck handling at Tilburg (+40%), inland shipping and rail clearly did even better: +57%, from 63,000 to 98,000 TEU. There are five inland shipping services a day and one rail shuttle between TBT and Rotterdam. The latter has a capacity of 80 TEU, the ships 32 TEU due to the restricted width of canals in the region. Major clients are Samsung and Sony. Transport to their distribution centres, located at some distance from the terminal, has to be by truck. This explains why all three modes of transport are showing sharp growth at TBT. In Waalwijk, the truck brought in barely the half, but 34% more units were transported by water. In 2006, there was not yet a rail connection, but work on the link is currently under way. Things are the other way round in Venlo, where an inland shipping terminal will be operational within the foreseeable future. In 2006 and 2007, they only had rail capacity there, fed by 20 train shuttles a week with the ECT sea terminals.

In 2007, rail volume for the seven terminals was a third of that of inland shipping in absolute terms and the percentage growth of rail was more than double. It must be noted here that TCT Venlo is the strongest inland rail terminal in the Netherlands. The increase in inland shipping, at  30%, does not therefore stand out too sharply. 


 Truck  Rail Barge Total
06 07 06 07 06 07 06 07
Tilburg 30.150     43.000  22.800     47.000 40.100    51.000         93.100    141.000 
Waalwijk 3.800    


16.100    21.500         19.900      23.600
Venlo 88.000  112.000   88.000    112.000 
Wanssum 70.000    95.000         70.000      95.000 
Den Bosch 105.000    120.000     105.000    120.000    
Nijmegen 81.000      88.000       81.000      88.000      
Hengelo 90.000 100.000       90.000 100.000      
Total 110.800  159.000 402.200     485.500      547.000   679.600






With the necessary caveat about how representative the figures for seven terminals are, the strong development of rail plus inland shipping, at +25% over the short distances (100-200 km. to the port of Rotterdam), is striking. A number of years ago, reports still expressed scepticism about the feasibility of this. Focused cooperation between major shippers and  terminal operators evidently makes all the difference. Just think, for instance, of  Heineken in Den Bosch and shortly in Alphen a/d Rijn.

Even given lower figures for the other Dutch terminals, the growth of inland shipping at the Rotterdam sea terminals in 2007 (+8%) is evidently attributable to growth of the Dutch inland terminals and the two-way traffic (Grand Alliance) with Amsterdam, and possibly that with  Antwerp. Growth at the foreign Rhine terminals was around 4%, but it does involve a total of approximately one million TEU.

Prospects for  2008
At the terminal in Waalwijk, the same number of trucks, in relative terms, were handled in the first quarter of 2008 as in the previous year (as a whole). Inland shipping - 7000 TEU in the first three months -  should be able to record 30%  gains for the year as a whole.  
In 2008, all three modes of transport will grow locally in Tilburg, with an increasing share for rail and inland shipping in the long route Tilburg-Rotterdam. This is partly because Samsung, which accounts for around 15,000 TEU per annum, wants to reduce the truck’s share further from 30 to 20%.

(*) Binnenlandse Container Terminals Nederland, with terminals in Den Bosch, Wanssum, Nijmegen and Hengelo.
(Source of figures for Tilburg, Waalwijk, Venlo: Schiffahrt, Hafen, Bahn und Technik, 3/2008, 
www.ect.nl2007 and 2008, Nieuwsblad Transport 18-06-2008 information TBT and www.bctn.nlfor the four other terminals).

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