On Wednesday, September 24, The Rechtbank Rotterdam Court passed judgement in the dispute brought against the authority by port operator Europe Container Terminals (ECT) about the way in which the Port of Rotterdam Authority developed the Maasvlakte 2. The court ruled that the Port Authority did not abuse a position of economic power when allocating new port sites.
The Court decided that: ”The Port Authority did not act unlawfully by promoting greater competition between the container stevedoring terminals. It was inevitable that there would be temporary over-capacity. With its policy, the Port Authority served the interests of the more long-term development of the port of Rotterdam. Furthermore, it took measures to limit the negative consequences of this over-capacity.
ECT was not denied a fair chance in the tendering procedure. The court found no evidence that the Port Authority had made any firm commitments to ECT which it failed to honour. The terms and conditions of the agreements which the Port Authority made with ECT are no less favourable than those made with its rivals.”
The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has warned that this ruling should not lead to two terminals at the port’s new Maasvlakte 2 site being rushed prematurely into operation.
Paddy Crumlin, ITF president and chair of the ITF dockers’ section, said: “This decision should not be taken as a green light to expansion without dialogue. There is a clear need for discussion around a phased implementation of Maasvlakte 2. That must include a dialogue involving all stakeholders, including the representative workers’ union, FNV Havens, and it must cover areas such as job creation, job stability and sustainability. Without that process, the future of one of the world’s busiest and most successful ports – and one with a record of good labour relations – will be put at risk.”