The Port of Rotterdam is the gateway to the European market—giving over 500 million Europeans access to just about every kind of commodity, from chemicals and computers to vehicles and food. But Rotterdam is more than just a seaport. It is a massive industrial complex, which includes multi-modal transportation facilities as well as special economic zones for adding value to goods passing through the port. The goods and services produced in Rotterdam’s industrial area have boosted the region’s economy by approximately €11 billion annually.
Leading Europe in cold storage
More than a decade ago, break bulk was the most popular form of transport for perishable or refrigerated goods. Now, this has been replaced by refrigerated containers (reefers). Ninety per cent of all perishables in the Port of Rotterdam are transported using reefers; this includes everything from fish and meat to flowers, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. One of Rotterdam’s most noteworthy accomplishments is its development into Europe’s leading cold storage and refrigerated transport facility. With a large number of plugs for reefers, specialised companies and cold-storage facilities, Rotterdam is now the leading import and export hub for perishables.
ICT critical to hub success
Key to the success of the port of Rotterdam, however, is its extensive use of information communication technologies (ICT) to integrate and streamline their operations. In 1998, using limited resources and a strong backbone, a ‘delivering district’, was established at the port of Rotterdam. This enabled the development of a specialised logistics model for other ports all around the world. Using the latest technologies and processes that were completely streamlined with ICT, the port was able to offer a wide range of value-added services and other customised solutions on-location.
A lesson in logistics
Rotterdam represents an ideal model of a successful logistics hub. By combining a comprehensive multi-modal transportation network, special economic zones for creating added value through finished products and specialising in cold storage, Rotterdam’s industrial facility offers its users unrivalled advantages. By including ICT at the core of their operations, the port of Rotterdam is also extremely efficient and is an example of how modern logistics should operate.
Quick facts about the Port of Rotterdam
• Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe
• The Port of Rotterdam has an annual throughput of almost 440 million tonnes of cargo
• 100 million tonnes of crude oil passes through the port annually
• The Port of Rotterdam has the capacity to handle 12 million TEUs
• Daily, over 200 trucks carrying fresh fruit and vegetables are deployed from Rotterdam’s industrial complex
• Rotterdam is the leading import and export hub for perishables or items requiring cold storage