Still plenty of room for Germany in Rotterdam; freight forwarders visit the port

Rotterdam and Germany are natural partners. One fourth of all cargo handled in the port of Rotterdam is bound for or hails from Germany. The relationship however is not as self-evident for every German federal state yet. This became evident once again in mid-May during a three-day port visit of more than 25 German forwarders from different Bundesländer.


For participants from North Rhine-Westphalia, which borders the Netherlands, the route via Rotterdam is an obvious choice. Freight forwarders in the southern federal state of Bavaria however are far less familiar with the advantages presented by the Dutch port. The event, organised by the Rotterdam Port Promotion Council, and was geared to all these different parties. The programme included several presentations of the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Portbase, a boat trip through the port, visits to the ECT Delta Terminal, Futureland, VAT Logistics and Eurofrigo as well as two informal networking events for German forwarders and Rotterdam-based entrepreneurs.

Rail Shuttle Rotterdam - Bavaria first step
The Bavarian delegation was headed by Edina Brenner, general manager of the Landesverband Bayerischer Spediteure. Her organisation represents more than 420 freight forwarding companies. "The traditional focus in Bavaria has always been on the North German ports. But of course, our members are constantly looking for alternatives. This visit is a good opportunity for them to further familiarise themselves with Rotterdam." Important in this relationship with Bavaria is the container rail shuttle which nowadays offers a direct connection between Rotterdam, Nuremberg and Munich four times a week. A first step, thinks Brenner. "Several of our members now make use of this connection." According to the general manager, even more important is Rotterdam's recent appointment of a permanent representative in Bavaria. "A person who actually visits companies and such is definitely essential to gain a stronger foothold in Bavaria and further expand relationships."

'Rotterdam really stands out'
As general manager of the Verband Spedition und Logistik Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dr. Rüdiger Ostrowski led the delegation from the federal state closest to Rotterdam. "For our approximately 500 members, Rotterdam is an essential transport hub. This trip offers them a good opportunity to see the current developments in the port. Moreover, there will always be new companies starting imports and exports overseas that are still somewhat unfamiliar with Rotterdam. The cargo flows between Rotterdam and North Rhine-Westphalia are explicitly growing by the way; by some 40 percent between 2009 and 2012, for example. Rotterdam really stands out. Not only in terms of geographic location and connections, but also regarding marketing and, through Portbase, transparent data exchange. I would however advise Rotterdam to invite even more young people from Germany in the future. They are tomorrow's decision makers."

Dr. Ostrowski considers the modal shift pursued by the Port of Rotterdam Authority a real 'change of perspective'. By 2035, barge and rail must account for 65 percent of all hinterland transport from the port; only 35 percent of cargo traffic may be transported by road. "In principle I am positive about this. The main question however is how Rotterdam aims to verify this modal shift. Are companies expected to offer insight into their administration for this? The initiative is good, but should entail more than marketing spin. The modal shift really has to be implemented in practice."

Contact the Germany Desk of the Port of Rotterdam Authority for more information. Or contact one of the companies involved:

Dr. Rüdiger Ostrowski

General Manager - Verband Spedition und Logistik Nordrhein-Westfalen

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