September 20, 2010
During the first half of 2010, the Port of Rotterdam saw a 14.8 per cent increase in cargo to 213 million tonnes while container traffic also rose by double digits. This caused immense congestion at the port, resulting in delays and much inconvenience to all concerned. Emile Hoogsteden, Director for Containers, Break Bulk & Logistics, says the growth in container volumes put a lot of pressure on the port’s accessibility. “A congested port is naturally not attractive for a shipper,” he explains. “Fortunately, Philips, Maersk Line and the Port of Rotterdam felt the sense of urgency and took up the task to work together on finding new ways of transporting containers to and from Rotterdam,” he adds.
Carbon dioxide reduction
As a step towards resolving the problem, Philips agreed to transfer its exports by freight barge to the port from the inland terminal at Moerdijk, instead of trucking the cargo from its distribution centre at Roosendaal – saving 80,000 road kilometres per year and some 200 tonnes of CO2.
Maersk Line is the first and only carrier with extended gates in both Moerdijk and Amsterdam and the pilot programme with Philips proved to be a resounding success, says Kees Berkhof, Key Client Manager for Philips.
“The main drivers for Philips were accessibility and environmental concerns, and increased reliability,” Berkhof shares, adding that handling barges is faster than trucks in handling bigger flows.
In a statement issued by Philips, Krzysztof Przesmycki, global commodity strategy manager, said, “We are making this modal shift with a view to the future. We keep ahead of the congestion, with sustainability as an important incentive.”
Michel Deleuran, Regional Manager Northern Europe, says this is a good example of how carriers, suppliers, customers and authorities must work together to resolve the challenges in the container shipping industry.
“Carriers and shippers need to recognise the need for innovative and flexible solutions to avoid port and inland congestion becoming the ultimate bottleneck.” He added, “Success of the logistical chain will depend more and more on strong port-hinterland connections.”