European Ports Project
- Brouwers, C.I.J.
Overview port of Rotterdam
This is an overview from the port of Rotterdam. It is the largest port of the world, very close to its biggest competitor: the port of Antwerp. Since Europe is growing fast the number of containers handled by these two European main ports is growing fast, even now the economy is slowing down. The pressure on the main ports is so big that new ports are under construction or planned. It seems that Belgium and The Netherlands will stay the European main port for the next coming decades.
The goods and containers handled by ports must be transported to the cities and industrial zones inner land. Therefore big rail tracks are built or upgraded and distribution and industribution” centers (value added logistics, VAL) are built miles into the land, far from the ocean. The best example is Venlo, where many companies built their European distribution Center (EDC). Venlo is very well connected to Rotterdam by rail and Antwerp by road.
Since the new countries joined the European Union Venlo grew very fast, now resulting in the title “third logistics center of the Netherlands”. This is very good for its economy and employment, but at the other hand bad for the environment. thousands of trucks travel near the city, trains with dangerous goods are staying at the rail station and the natural landscape changed from forest into metal boxes, thousands of square meters wide and now the Tradeport are dominating the landscape.
Thriving logistics has benefits, but also its price. GEOlution is studying the possibilities to improve natural quality but also the possible dangers for the natural environment in this city. Not by making an inventory of plants and animals, but by researching the logistic ambition and possibilities. This information is crucial for the future of a town witch could be the center of the Iron Rhine, Betuweroute South, Brabantroute, but also major highways and waterways to Germany and Belgium.
Is it worth it to pay such a high price for developing Venlo as distribution place? How will European goods flows be in 2010 and how important will Antwerp an Rotterdam be for Europe? When goods will find new ways in the future, then it is a waste of time, nature and money to continue developing the Rotterdam and Antwerp main ports. But else, it could be worth it to invest more money into the Venlo infrastructure to develop the sustainable Trans European network and a sustainable future for the city of Venlo.
The European Ports Project brings us, and you as visitor of this website or subscriber to the magazine to new places on earth, you learn about logistics and maybe we can look together into the future.