Column

Mainports are a basis for the Dutch welfare

Source: Port of Rotterdam Authority

A column by Hans de Boer, Chairman VNO-NCW

The Netherlands should step up its efforts to strengthen the position of the Mainports of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport to ensure that they remain competitive with the strong global economic competition. These Mainports are the basis of our welfare. Therefore, VNO-NCW has developed a vision for the future of the Mainports, under the heading ‘The Netherlands forever the ultimate hub of the world’. We also present proposals to consolidate and expand the top position of the Mainports.

Regarding our Mainports it is harder to stay on top than to get there. Other countries copy our main port strategy to strengthen their strategic interests, while the Netherlands itself meanwhile weakens the competitiveness of its Mainports with increasing charges imposed by the public authorities. Especially now, strong Mainports offer fantastic opportunities, for instance by creating good connections to India and larger parts of China.

VNO-NCW believes that the various governments should bring the charges (dividend tax, security fees, inspection fees, local taxes) for our Mainports in line with those of our competitors. Additional funds should also be made available to greatly improve the accessibility of the Mainports.

Not only the handling of the flow of goods creates many jobs. Especially the strengthening of the Dutch business climate through the Mainports provides added value. Sustainability also offers a great opportunity.

Thanks to the excellent accessibility, Rotterdam is a leading global petrochemical cluster.

Hans de Boer - Voorzitter VNO-NCW Hans de Boer, Chairman VNO-NCW

At the same time, we should invest in a major transition towards a sustainable industrial complex to ensure that the cluster remains a global leader. VNO-NCW attaches great importance to the recommendations recently published by Rein Willems, former CEO of Shell Netherlands.

The Mainports are too important to the Dutch economy to undermine them insidiously and see them be outpaced by competitors from ambitious countries. The next government must explicitly aim at strengthening the Mainports.

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