Business opportunities

Choosing Rotterdam means choosing for limitless possibilities

Rotterdam is not just the largest port in Europe. The city also has many internationally renowned scientific institutions, a thriving international business community, high culture, architecture and leisure, all in one place. Increase your success by choosing it as your business location, by doing business there or by transferring goods there. Because the network and the many connections Rotterdam offers allow you to push your boundaries.


Tax benefits on imports

Foreign trade is deeply embedded in Dutch history and culture and it is one of the cornerstones of the Dutch economy. Therefore, the Dutch government focuses strongly on creating an attractive business climate for foreign companies, both in terms of a favourable fiscal environment and in the ease of doing business.
Tax deferral through fiscal representation

Goods imported into Europe are subject to VAT. In most EU countries VAT has to be paid immediately upon import. Generally speaking, a company importing products from outside the EU is required to pay import duties and VAT once the goods enter the European Union. It can apply for a refund of this VAT at a later stage, a rather inefficient process. That is why, in the Netherlands, payment of VAT may be deferred to a periodic VAT return through fiscal representation. Many European customs brokers and forwarders offer fiscal representation for VAT as a service to their customers. They can obtain permission to defer Import VAT, usually due upon import, to the periodic return they must file for their clients. In concrete terms, the foreign trader is not required to pay VAT when excisable goods arrive in the port. The payment of VAT at import can be postponed until the periodic VAT return, when the amount of VAT can be deducted straight away. In the end, there is no actual payment of VAT. In other EU countries, such as Germany and France, companies are required to pay VAT in the usual way every time a shipment arrives. By taking away these unnecessary transactions upon import, the Netherlands provides an attractive cash-flow advantage.

Customs bonded warehousing

Theoretically, customs duties are due when goods are imported into the European Union (EU). But the Netherlands allows the payment of these duties to be postponed through the storage of goods in a customs bonded warehouse. Only when the goods are shipped out of the warehouse does the company pay the import duties, resulting again in considerable cash-flow advantages.

More information

For more information about the tax advantages in the Netherlands, please visit the websites below:


Rotterdam is an ideal starting point for the import and export to and from Europe. The port of Rotterdam is considered the external border of the European Union, so after customs clearance in Rotterdam your goods may travel freely through the EU Member States. Dutch Customs is responsible for releasing goods that enter or leave Europe via Rotterdam and is known to be one of the most efficient customs in the world.
Customs' inspection with minimal impact

Based on risk analyses, the customs determines whether inspections are required. The Dutch Customs operates 24/7 and if inspections are required, these are primarily conducted through scans. In recent years, large investments have been made in high-tech scanning equipment at the terminals and in the fastest train scanner in the world. Thanks to these scans, containers do not need to be opened unnecessarily. This ensures the safety of your cargo, reduces delays and prevents unnecessary costs for the cargo owners.

Electronic submissions of import and export documents with Portbase

The Port of Rotterdam Customs office endeavours to carry out statutory audits with minimal impact on the logistics process. Submission of the required documents for import and export by importers, exporters, freight forwarders, agents, shipping companies, terminals and shippers can take place electronically from anywhere in the world via the Portbase Port Community System.

Logistics providers and customs specialists

Organising the import and export of goods requires the necessary knowledge and skills. A large number of logistics service providers and customs specialists operate in the port of Rotterdam and can organise customs clearance and other services for you.

More information

For more information, please contact customs

Getting started

Are you interested in doing business in the largest port of Europe or are you considering setting up your business in Rotterdam? Below you will find information that can help you get started, as well as links to relevant organisations.
Partners in logistics

In and around the port of Rotterdam you will find hundreds of companies that specialize in shipping, hinterland transport, storage and distribution. They also provide value-added services such as inventory control, quality audits, (re)packaging, labelling, assembling, processing and repairing of goods. Find your partner in logistics in the company index.

Setting up business in Rotterdam

Are you considering setting up business in the port of Rotterdam with port-related activities or services? There are many options for office space, business premises, warehouses and other industrial property. Various areas have also been designated for development. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is the manager, developer and operator of the port and industrial area and can provide tailor-made advice. The Port Authority is your direct point of contact for:

  • Information about the entire range of possibilities for establishing businesses in the port
  • Assistance in finding suitable office space, business premises and other property in the port
  • Expert guidance during the process of setting up
  • Advice on preconditions such as permits and facilities
More information

The following organisations may be of interest:

  • Rotterdam Partners
  • Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
  • Holland International Distribution Council


Port of Rotterdam Asia Desk

Anita van der Laan
Sr. Business Manager Shippers & Forwarders
+31 (0)6 2182 7039
Lian Mingyue
Rotterdam Representative China
+86 21 5198 7915

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