Dutch State Eyeing Stake in Port of Amsterdam

The Dutch State is considering to acquire an ownership interest in the Port of Amsterdam, currently wholly-owned by the Municipality of Amsterdam, a move described as a strategic choice to safeguard the national interest of proper management of ports vital to the country’s economy, the Rotterdam-based law firm Van Steenderen MainportLawyers reports.

The State had already made a similar investment into the Port of Rotterdam when it acquired a 29.2 ownership interest in the country’s largest port back in 2006, with the remaining 70.8% owned by the Municipality of Rotterdam.

The move enabled the State to invest EUR 726 million into the port, the majority of which was spent on the Maasvlakte II and its two fully automated container terminals.

At the time the rationale behind the acquisition by the Dutch State in the Port of Rotterdam was solely based on financial considerations: a return on investment, according to the law firm.

However, in 2013 the Port of Rotterdam was added to a list of permanent acquisitions of the national government, which are regarded as a strategic choice to safeguard Dutch security and/or economic interests. The justification of the Dutch State’s acquisition of shares in the Port of Rotterdam therefore developed from a financial necessity into a strategic choice to protect a vital port.

Conceivably this reasoning equally applies to an acquisition of ownership interests by the national government in the Port of Amsterdam as this port claims it is Western Europe’s fourth largest transshipment port.

The municipal government of Amsterdam has already said that it supports a partial transfer of its ownership interest to the national government.

In reply, the Dutch national government indicated that it will investigate whether an acquisition of an ownership interest in the Port of Amsterdam would indeed serve the national public interests, as was previously asserted by the national government in relation to the Port of Rotterdam.

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