On 26 May 2012, the Swiss Rhine Ports (SHR) and the port of Rotterdam signed a Memorandum of Understanding. It states the intention of both parties to work together in a coordinated manner on the development of hinterland transport from Rotterdam.
In the first place, there will be a regular exchange of information and experience between the port authorities of Rotterdam and the SHR, as well as with the logistics and port partners taking part. In addition, joint intermodal logistic forms of cooperation by inland shipping and rail will be promoted.
However, the focus will be on creating the new trimodal container terminal Basel Nord, as a result of which the different modes of transport will be combined efficiently and the performance of the logistics chain will improve.
Finally, the two port authorities state that they will encourage the use of LNG as an environmentally friendly fuel in shipping.
Increase in goods flow
The reason behind the enhanced coordination is the anticipated sharp increase in the goods flow between the two ports. For example, the report ’Rheinschiffahrt und Schweizer Verlagerungspolitik’, which the Swiss Ministry of Transport and the SHR drew up close on two years ago, already indicated a ‘potential switch’ of about 100,000 TEU in favour of inland shipping. This sector therefore needs to adapt the logistics chain better to suit the shippers’ wishes. In addition to this, there is the potential for transit transport via the Basel region to the rest of Switzerland and Italy, which is virtually unutilised at the moment. Last, but not least, there is the general growth in the transport market, as indicated in the Rotterdam Port Vision 2030.
Rotterdam expects growth in existing types of goods such as containers, but also in ‘new’ types such as LNG, biomass and coal as growth market up to 2020. In order to process the expected growth, the port of Rotterdam has the ‘modal shift’ goal for containers of 35% road, 45% inland shipping and 20% rail. For the longer distances, this means in practice 100% inland shipping and rail. The port of Rotterdam and the Basel region have the same interests and challenges here. Partners in the hinterland, terminals, inland ports, shippers, forwarding agents, but also politicians and management, are needed to achieve the shared goals.
Not only is there good contact between the port of Rotterdam and Basel/Switzerland, but there is also a strong quantitative relationship. In 2010, around 4.2 million tonnes of cargo were exchanged by inland shipping. Figures were down slightly in 2011 due to the temporary closure of the Rhine at the Lorelei. Within the total weight, a little more than 101,000 TEU were transported.
By rail, about 800,000 tonnes were transported in both 2010 and 2011, with container cargo easily passing the 62,000 TEU mark. By ship, the port of Rotterdam is well ahead of the field, with twice the volume of the port of Antwerp. By rail, it comes second, behind the port of Hamburg’s 1 million tonnes.
Source: Portofrotterdam, July 5, 2012