The RoRo market in Rotterdam is thriving. Compared to the first nine months of last year, RoRo trade has increased by 11.4% this year. There was already an 8% rise RoRo in the previous year. Rotterdam’s RoRo market focuses very strongly on the United Kingdom.
“There are a number of reasons for the sharp increase”, says Rob Mittelmeijer, Freight Commercial Manager at Stena Line. “First of all, the British economy is recovering and the pound has increased in value against the euro. That makes things easier for exporters in Europe. Added to this, the strikes by MyFerryLink employees in Calais and Dover last summer led to serious delays. And finally, of course, there is the refugee problem in Calais.”
“There are examples of shippers and freight forwarders who have started shipping cargo to the United Kingdom via Rotterdam instead of Calais, partly as a result of the unrest in Calais. They have now found that the service in Rotterdam is extremely reliable and complete, with several departures a week to many destinations”, says Steven Jan van Hengel, Business Manager Short Sea & RoRo for the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “
Mittelmeijer: “Carriers continue to be plagued in Calais by people trying to sneak into their trucks. The industry will no longer tolerate this. If, for example, you carry pharmaceutical products – which are highly valuable goods – and there is a footprint on a pallet, the customer will refuse delivery. Before, these carriers would never have chosen to use the North Sea, because the Calais route is simply a much shorter crossing. But their customers are now demanding that they take an alternative route. That is to Rotterdam’s advantage.”
The Freight Manager cannot provide exact figures on the growth. “But we are certainly talking about a few dozen percent in the past year on our Hoek van Holland – Harwich route.
We expect the growth to continue for the time being.
— Rob Mittelmeijer, Freight Commercial Manager bij Stena Line.
In response to the rising demand, all RoRo operators have increased their capacity in the port of Rotterdam or are working towards this. For example, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Stena Line are currently building an extra berth for Stena Line in the Europoort. DFDS Seaways is deploying larger vessels and has increased the frequency on freight routes. CldN is investing between 30 and 40 million euros in the expansion of the terminal in the Brittanniëhaven and P&O Ferries is extending the track at the terminal in the Europoort, which will increase their rail capacity.
Furthermore, Rotterdam not only offers a wide choice of RoRo operators. Steven Jan van Hengel: ”We also have the flexibility of a large number of short sea container connections. Therefore, container transport is one of the options as well. Rotterdam has an excellent network of connections with the United Kingdom.”