Port of Rotterdam develops app to end transport of empty containers

downloadInlandLinks, the port of Rotterdam’s online intermodal platform, has developed an application to substantially reduce the transport of empty containers, the Dutch port announced on Tuesday.

Currently an estimated 25 percent of all containers shipped by road, rail or inland shipping are empty. Empty containers are returned to the owners and subsequently shipped directly back empty into the hinterland.

This results in extra costs, inefficient and unnecessary transport and also affects the environment. InlandLinks claims to have achieved a breakthrough in terms of efficiency and sustainability for the entire logistical chain.

The new online application to reduce the transport of empty containers, called ’empty depot tool,’ inland terminals where shippers and logistical service providers can pick up and deposit empty containers, and later reuse these containers for a new load. The new method allows containers to remain on the inland terminal to be reused for export cargo, instead of being returned empty.

“It is not mandatory to bring containers back immediately but the owners of the containers, the shipping companies, normally want to reuse them as soon as possible,” said Sjaak Poppe, spokesman of the Port of Rotterdam.

“Currently oweners let containers return empty if they stay in the hinterland too long. The longer containers remain unused, the larger the needed amount of containers for shipping companies will be.”

With the new tool leads to lower costs and lower CO2 emissions. A large number of shipping companies have already joined the platform, Poppe added. Source: news.xinhuanet.com

Major Multimodal Logistics Hub in Belgium

Liege Trilogiport is scheduled to open for business in the final half of 2015 (Picture: Liege Ports Authority)

Liege Trilogiport is scheduled to open for business in the final half of 2015 (Picture: Liege Ports Authority)

Work is underway on a major multimodal logistics hub project in Belgium. Piloted by the inland port of Liège, it is designed to serve as an “extended gateway” to the seaports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

The project will attract around €45 million of public funding from the Belgian authorities and the European Union to finance infrastructure requirements, while initial investment from the private sector is estimated at approximately €115 million.

Located on a 120 hectare site on the banks of the Canal Albert, the Trilogiport project is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2015. It is expected to create more than 2,000 direct or indirect jobs.

Described as “a tri-modal (river, rail and road) logistics village,” it will comprise a 15ha container terminal, with 1,850 metres of quayside, operated by Luxembourg-based Euroports and its partner, DP World.

Provision is made too to build a rail freight terminal with 700 metres of track to connect Trilogiport with the national rail network. Construction of a road bridge is also planned to provide access to the motorway system around Liège.

Trilogiport will also incorporate 200,000 sq metres of warehousing and distribution space at full build-out. Source: Porttechnology.com

 

Rotterdam – The signficance of ‘hinterland’ container services

Picture1BILK (Budapest Intermodal Logistics Center) Kombiterminál has become the first Hungarian terminal to join the InlandLinks network, comprising of nearly 40 terminals across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy and Hungary.

InlandLinks, an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam Authority which was developed two years ago in cooperation with VITO (Dutch Inland Container Terminal Organisation), is an online platform for container terminals in the hinterland, offering intermodal services to and from the Port Rotterdam – Europe’s largest port complex

Rotterdam expects to see container flows triple over next 25 years in line with growth in world trade and the increasing size of container vessels. Of the 30 million TEU anticipated to be handled by the Dutch port in 2035, approximately 2 million are expected to be shipped in and out using smaller vessels from and to European ports. Some 18 million TEU will travel to and from the hinterland via intermodal transport, and the Port of Rotterdam hopes that InlandLinks will help to provide greater insight into better and more sustainable connections for this projected flow of cargo.

BILK, located in a suburb in the southeast of Budapest, consists of a railway station/marshalling yard, a bi-modal terminal for combined traffic, and a 70-hectare logistics centre. The terminal has the capacity to handle an annual traffic of 220,000 TEU. Source: Porttechnology.org

 

Preparing ports for the future –

Siim Kallas - Europe’s ports must be better connected across the wider transport network.

Siim Kallas – Europe’s ports must be better connected across the wider transport network.

The following article featured in Port Stratetgy and penned by Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport policy, offers some sound views on how ports and regional networks ought to harmonise to ensure their competitiveness.

Europe’s prosperity has always been linked to sea trade and ports, which have great potential for sustaining growth in the years ahead. As gateways to the EU’s entire transport network, they are engines of economic development. And more cargo, cruise ships and ferries in our ports mean more jobs.

Europe depends heavily on its seaports, which handle 74% by volume of the goods exported or imported to the EU and from the rest of the world. Not only are they important for foreign trade and local growth, ports are the key for developing an integrated and sustainable transport system, as we work to get trucks off our saturated land transport corridors and make more use of short sea shipping.

Need to adapt

Even with only modest assumptions of economic growth, port cargo volumes are expected to rise by 57% by 2030, almost certainly causing congestion. In 20 years, Europe’s hundreds of seaports will face major challenges in performance, investment needs, sustainability, human resources and integration with port cities and regions.

So our ports need to adapt. Take the next generation of ultra-large vessels that carry 18,000 containers. Put onto trucks, these containers would stretch in a single line from Rotterdam to Paris. To accommodate them, ports need to provide the adequate depth, crane reach and shipyard space. There is also a growing need for gas carriers and gasification facilities.

Efficiency and performance vary a great deal around Europe. Many EU ports perform very well – take Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, which handle 20% of all goods. But not all ports offer the same high-level service. Port network connections and trade flows are well developed in northern Europe, but much less so the south.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link: if a few ports do not perform well, it affects the sustainable functioning of Europe’s entire transport network and economy – which needs to recover and see long-term growth.

Preparing for the future

Ports must be prepared for the future. This means improving local connections to the wider road, rail and inland waterways networks; fully optimising services to make the best use of ports as they are now; and creating a business climate to attract the investments that are so badly needed if capacity is to expand, as it must do.

Unlike other transport sectors, there is almost no EU ports legislation, on access to services, financial transparency or charging for infrastructure use. Experience from the last 15 years shows that the market cannot solve the problem itself; the lack of equal competition conditions and restrictions to port market access are barriers to improving performance, attracting investments and creating jobs. We need to act.

Our proposal to review EU ports policy focuses on the ports of the trans-European Transport Network, which accounts for 96% of goods and 95% of passengers transiting through the EU ports system. Firstly, if ports are to adapt to new economic, industrial and social requirements, they must have a competitive and open business environment.

Freedom to provide services, with no discrimination, should be a general principle; although in cases of space constraints or public interest, the responsible port authority should ensure that decisions granting market access are transparent, proportionate and non-discriminatory. Transparency of public port financing should also be improved, to avoid distortions of competition and make clear where public money is going. This will encourage more private investors, who need long-term stability and legal certainty.

On charging for using infrastructure, where there is no uniform EU model, port authorities should be more autonomous and set charges themselves. But this must be done based on objective, non-discriminatory and transparent criteria. Ports should also be able to reduce charges for ships with better environmental performance.

Staying competitive

We also plan to help our ports stay competitive by cutting more red tape and administrative formalities to boost their efficiency even further. As in many other economic sectors, staffing needs in ports are changing rapidly and there is a growing need to attract port workers. Without a properly trained workforce and skilled people, ports cannot function. The Commission estimates that up to 165,000 new jobs will be created in ports by 2030.

Modern port services and a stable environment must also involve modern organisation of work and social provisions. Many countries have reformed and the benefits of doing so can be clearly seen. Experience in Member States which have implemented ports reforms show that open and proper discussions between the parties involved can make a real difference. So we want to give this a chance first, over three years, to see what can be achieved. If that does not produce results, we will have to consider taking action.

To stimulate resource-efficient growth and trade, Europe’s ports must be better connected across the wider transport network. They must make sure they are able to develop and respond to change. This is what the European Commission aims to achieve, for the long-term benefit of the ports sector, local business and the environment. Source: Portstrategy.com

Port of Antwerp – Customs seize record cocaine haul

Customs Officers at the Belgian Port of Antwerp seized more than eight tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas originating from Ecuador last week. The cocaine, with a street value of more than US$500 million, were found in a container on Monday in what is the largest drugs haul ever in both Belgium and the Netherlands, and the second largest ever in Europe.

Dutch authorities have made five arrests in connection with the find, with a 46-year old Belgian truck driver and four Dutch citizens currently being questioned by police. Reports also indicate that a 31-year old Customs Officer from Antwerp is suspected to have helped the gang move the drugs out of the Belgian port, where the truck was put under surveillance before being intercepted on the outskirts of Rotterdam.

“The police investigation is now focusing on the final destination for the drugs and the financing,” Dutch News said citing prosecutors. The 20,000 kilos of bananas, which were seized along with the 7,000 packs of cocaine weighing over a kilo each, have been donated to Rotterdam’s Blijdorp Zoo. Source: Porttechnology.com