APM Terminals ready for giant box ships

Dutch-headquartered container terminal operator APM Terminals, part of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, opened a new terminal facility at Port of Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte II, hailed as world’s first fully-automated, zero emissions container terminal.

The 86 hectare (212 acre) deep-water terminal features 1,000 meters of quay, on-dock rail, and eight fully-automated electric-powered Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes, with an annual throughput capacity of 2.7 million TEUs.

At planned full build-out, the terminal will cover 180 hectares (445 acres) and offer 2,800 meters of deep-sea quay (19.65 meters/64.5 feet depth), with an annual throughput capacity of 4.5 million TEUs.

This EUR500 million container terminal is fully powered by wind-generated electricity, enabling terminal operations without harmful emissions or pollutants.

APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer spoke with World Maritime News on the sidelines of the Maasvlakte II Terminal opening.

What was the reason behind building the new APM Terminal at Maasvlakte and why did you choose the Port of Rotterdam for this project?

We brought to life what began as a vision of how the port of the future should look like – the world’s most innovative and technologically-advanced container terminal.

It has certainly been an amazing journey to get to where we are. In 2006, we signed a concession agreement with the Port of Rotterdam to transform a giant plot of sea and sand into our vision.

The project really began with listening to our customers – the shipping lines. We recognized that we would have to revolutionise terminal operations to cater for the changes in the container shipping industry.

We developed what probably will become the most productive and safest terminal in the world through separating man from machine, as we say.

With this terminal, a new chapter in the international history of container terminals is written, as we demonstrate that safety, efficiency, sustainability, and world economic trade can go hand-in-hand.

Let me just share with you some impressive facts about our new flagship:

• The terminal is built on a piece of reclaimed land equivalent to 105 football fields
• The terminal can handle 2.7 million twenty foot containers pr. year. This is roughly 52,000 containers per week. If these 52,000 containers were lined up, this would equal the distance from here to Paris and back again
• The automation of the operation means that the same people who would normally work in a hazardous environment, will do the same job – not manually – but remotely using machines while located in a safe office environment
• The terminal is a totally emission-free operation. All the terminal’s power requirements are ultimately provided by wind generated electricity

APM Terminals MVII builds on our strong experience from APM Terminals’ MVI, an award winning terminal and recognized for being the most productive terminal in Europe. So our presence at MVI has really laid the foundations for us to continue to expand within the port.

With two distinctly different, but superior and winning facilities – each in their own right – it should come as no surprise that we can now call Port of Rotterdam our flagship location.

But the development of the most advanced container terminal in the world is not just about sand, quay walls and cranes. At the end of the day it is about people. It is about team work, cooperation, leadership and passion.


How did you achieve zero emissions from cargo handling equipment and do you plan to introduce this model to any other terminals?

We worked closely with our vendors to ensure that the equipment can be electricity-powered, with the aim of cleaner, quieter operations.

We like to use electric equipment whenever possible in our terminals. But in some countries due to the stability of the grid we cannot use the electric power so we use diesel-powered equipment.


How much of the terminal’s capacity has been booked, and when do you expect to reach optimum performance?

The terminal is fully booked by Maersk Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company. Our plan is to ramp up our performance further each week and we are already seeing progress.


Where do you stand on the fact that more and more container lines are ordering 20,000+ TEU ships, and is the new terminal ready for these giants?

We welcome this trend – it is just what we planned for. The terminal is ready for these ships.


Speaking of the ever bigger ships, what are the key challenges in handling these ships and where do you see room for improvement? Which other APM Terminals’ facilities can handle the ships of this size, and what will happen with the terminals that are off limits to these ships?

APM Terminals has many large terminals that can handle the ships of the future. Our productivity and operations focus on handling the large volumes they bring and ensuring berth quay operations, container yard operations, and rail, truck, barge all work well together so you can perform well week in, week out. Currently, our facilities in Asia and Europe can handle these ships.



In November 2014, APM Terminals and partners set aside USD1 billion for further development of the Tema Port in Ghana. Has the construction started, and what are your further plans for this port, do you plan to turn it into your African hub?

Since the signing of the MOU in November 2014, APM Terminals together with our partners (Bollore Africa Logistics) have been working closely with the government towards finalizing the project.

This includes the finalization of the contractual arrangements, as well as customary preparations such as the detailed design and engineering studies. The total investment is expected to exceed USD 1 billion during the initial phase.

The new port is planned to be a modern world class facility with four deep water container berths and a capacity well above 3 million TEU per year, able to serve the largest container vessels at high levels of productivity.

The new port complex will also have space for development on other non-container activities. The new port will facilitate an increase in trade in the region and will also be well positioned as a hub for customers to neighboring countries.


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