Rotterdam forced to take action as cargo disruption escalates

The Port of Rotterdam has been forced to undertake a number of measures to help alleviate congestion at its ECT Delta and Euromax terminals.

In a statement, the Port of Rotterdam Authority said inland waterway vessels and feederships operating out of these terminals have been experiencing lengthy delays for some time, and improvements implemented at the two facilities have not been having the desired effect.
“The inconvenience experienced by the port’s customers and users is of such magnitude that the Port of Rotterdam Authority has taken the initiative of developing solutions to this problem,” it said.
“It became clear that all parties involved wanted to co-operate in order to improve the situation.”
Cargo flows at ECT Delta Terminal have been hampered for a number of weeks as it continues in the upgrade of its container-handling infrastructure.
The upgrade includes the installation of five quay cranes, forcing the closure of the south-side terminal, which in turn has severely disrupted vessel schedules.
The shutdown of the south side has been compounded by deepsea ships arriving out-of-window during the past few months, putting even further strain on Rotterdam’s already stretched hinterland operations.

Rotterdam, like other ports in the region, is struggling to cope with the large volumes of cargo stemming from increasing vessel sizes.

The measures to ease congestion, three in total, will focus primarily on improving the handling of inland shipping traffic in a bid to free up quay and labour capacity in favour of seagoing vessels.

Firstly, some inland waterway vessels, particularly those transporting small numbers of containers, will now be handled at Rotterdam Container Terminal, located opposite the Delta Terminal.

Elsewhere, the port will make further use of the Port of Moerdijk, where a greater number of containers will be bundled. Subsequently, inland vessels with a high capacity will shuttle between Moerdijk and the Maasvlakte. This option is currently already available, and can be scaled up even further, the port authority said.

The final measure will see the bundling of inland shipping containers, and if necessary road containers, at the Uniport Terminal in the Waalhaven area.
In response to congestion in Rotterdam, Hapag-Lloyd announced earlier this week that it will drop the Dutch port from its four-ship Europe-Asia Loop 4 service, operated within the G6 carrier alliance, for at least four weeks from August 14.
The service will now call at Antwerp’s PSA-operated Deurganck Terminal instead. The German carrier said it will monitor the situation regularly.