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With its Maasvlaakte II terminal now open and operational, the port of Rotterdam is turning its attention to the landside. The Dutch


their Betuweroute dedicated freight rail link from the port to the German border some years ago, but the link was always hamstrung by lack of capacity on the other side, where freight trains had to share the tracks with passenger and existing freight. Now, though, the Germans have started work on adding a third track from Emmerich all the way to Duisburg. The project will take until 2023 to complete, but it is an encouraging move in the right direction, says port of Rotterdam spokesman, Minco Van Heezen – all the more so, since the scheme appears to have taken priority over a plan to upgrade rail links to the North German ports. Transit through Germany is

also a key issue for the UK, as the country lies astride the main axis from Poland to Rotterdam, Van Heezen points out. Stena Line has already introduced a connecting rail service from Poland to Rotterdam to the P&O ferry terminal that it uses there, and the port authority would like to see this extended, with track doubling, longer sidings and a gantry crane in place of the reach-stacker currently used. The UK is by far the most

Issue 5 2015 - Freight Business Journal Rotterdam looks to the land The new terminal is

a development of the port’s ‘Transferium’ concept that originally envisaged around three hinterland terminals, but this has been scaled back into today’s rather more modest scheme, in the hope that volumes will build up.

important origin and destination for Rotterdam’s

Another user of the new ro ro traffic,

accounting for 90-95% of total freight. However, a new service to Leixoes in Portugal has been started by Cobelfret within the past couple of years and SeaCargo has expanded its service from the Broekman terminal to Norway, catering mainly for the oil and gas industry. SCA Logistics is also operating a route via the UK and Sweden, initially started for the paper trade but available for third party traffic, insofar as tight turnaround times allow. In a further development of its

hinterland, the port of Rotterdam has opened a new inland terminal at Alblasserdam, about 20km to the south-east of the city, near Dordrecht. The idea of this is that truck operators, instead of going all the way into the busy Rotterdam/Europort area, will be able to drop containers off at Alblasserdam (and possibly pick up a return box) with the container making the rest of the journey by barge – effectively, a park and ride terminal for freight.

terminal is inland barge operator Danse Container Line, which uses large push units from Switzerland to Alblasserdam, from where smaller barges operate to individual terminals in Rotterdam – and Antwerp. Alblasserdam is at the confluence of the river system and is ideally placed for this. As more giant ships start to

call at Maasvlaakte, it will put increased pressure on Rotterdam roads, and inland terminals will come into their own more and more, Van Heezen predicts. Rotterdam is a natural hub

for north-west Europe, Van Heezen contends, and there are encouraging signs of distribution centre business that had strayed to eastern Europe coming back to the port. For example, Nippon Express is once again handling traffic for office equipment maker Canon. “Rotterdam has the advantage that you can combine traffic for the UK and the Continent, so it can be wiser to be here than on the German- Czech border.”

Rotterdam: central to Samskip

Benelux, and in particular Rotterdam, is a pivotal point in short-sea and intermodal operator Samskip’s pan- European operations. “Benelux is a very important market for Samskip, in both directions, says sales manager, Andrew Wilson. Rotterdam is the focal point

of the network, with sea, rail and barge services fanning out from there to all parts of Europe, Scandinavia and even Russia or Turkey. Many customers are looking for alternatives to all- road movements these days, Andrew Wilson explains, so rail and inland waterways services

have come to the fore. “We’ve done a lot of work on

our barge services in Rotterdam, for instance,” he says, “to ensure

the reliability of the

interconnecting services. Direct barge services call into Samskip’s Rotterdam sea

connections are quite slick.” Allport to open in Belgium

Freight forwarding company, Allport Cargo Services (ACS), is set to expand its presence in Europe with the opening of ACS Belgium. Founded over 50 years ago,

ACS already has operations in over 30 countries worldwide, with representation in 100 more. The move forms part of a clear growth directive and on 1st June 2015, the Air and Sea division of ACS will open its doors in Belgium.

successful establishment of ACS Netherlands in 2012, for which he was responsible, and he will continue to head the operations in both countries. ACS chief executive Charles

The company has confirmed

that Victor Wever will head up the new Belgium office as managing director, following the

McGurin comments: “We have had representatives in Belgium for many years but as our business model has matured, we felt it was the right time to formalise an official presence in the country.”

terminals, so

Midlands-headquartered Twente Express is quite an unusual company in today’s groupage market. Whereas most operators have moved to East European drivers, the Brownhills-based hauler still employs only local drivers - British in the UK and Dutch in Holland. Commercial director,

Matthew Verrall explains: “The relationship we have with our customers is central to developing a sustainable

Many producers in the Benelux region

have their

business and the importance of quality communication between drivers and customers is oſten understated.” Also, in an age when some

operators’ purport to go everywhere and anywhere, Twente still specialises in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Verrall says: “Maintaining

our focus on this single market enables us to deliver a very clear message. We are the go-to partner for competitive, reliable


distribution fleets, including smaller firms. However,


introduction of Belgian road taxes in April 2016 may make many of them have second thoughts and offer opportunities for food logistics specialist Nagel-Group, says managing director Nagel Nederland and Nagel Belgium, Hans de Landsheere. Nagel-Group is represented in the Benelux region by its two

subsidiaries: Nagel Belgium (established in 2005) and Nagel Nederland (which dates back to 1987). The Benelux region as a whole has 170 employees using about 14,000sq m of logistics area for cross docking and storage activities as well as value added services. Main locations are Nazareth in Belgium (just outside Ghent) and Raalte in the middle of the Netherlands, about 20km from the German border. While both markets have a

Local knowledge gives Twente the edge 35

distribution solutions in the Benelux region. Our staff are all knowledgeable and experienced which gives a high degree of confidence and we have a very high success rate in converting opportunities.” Twente also has a freight

forwarding arm, which allows it to offer a one-stop shop solution to existing customer - oſten driven by customers asking for support and guidance as their own international business develops.

Belgian chocolate keeps things sweet for Nagel-Group still

few similarities from a cultural, linguistic and geographical point of view – and which enables Nagel- Group to have the same managing director for both subsidiaries, “nevertheless, we still experience that they want and need to be considered two separate markets,” Hans de Landsheere explains. He adds that despite the shiſt

of European distribution centres towards the East these last few years, “Benelux is still a very popular region for logistics centres.”

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