STARTING POINT: ROTTERDAM

Europe’s biggest port

Special cranes dump concrete blocks into the North Sea as breakwaters, barges bring along sand: in Maasvlakte 2, work is in progress on a project of the century.  The first 500 of 1,250 metres of sea quay will have soon been completed, and in two years time the first part of the port expansion will become operational. Europe’s biggest seaport will gain about 2,000 hectares of new port area through the project. The handling capacity for containers will treble up until final completion close to the year 2030. “No-one in Europe has such great capacity,” said Hans Smits, President and CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, according to the business newspaper “Handelsblatt”.

With about 600,000 inhabitants, the second biggest city in the Netherlands is Europe’s logistics centre – and Rotterdam owes this to its port and to its location. It’s not far to the German Ruhr region, the industrial heart of the continent. Via the port, companies have fast access to consumers from Belgium to Italy, from the Netherlands to Poland, from France to the UK. 180 million people live within a radius of 500 kilometres, and this area accounts for 25 per cent of the world’s industrial production.

430 million tonnes per year

The port extends along an impressive length of 40 kilometres. 430 million tonnes of goods were handled here in the year 2010. The port industries have created about 320,000 jobs, 60,000 of which are directly in the port area. With a shipping channel depth of 24 metres, even the very big ships can call here fully loaded and independent of the tides. Rotterdam is the most important European port for oil and oil products, for iron ores, scrap, coal and grain, indeed even for fruit, vegetables and fruit juices. Mineral oils account for a good 40 per cent of the volume handled. With eleven million units, general cargo, transported in containers, is the second main field of activity – here too, Rotterdam is the frontrunner in Europe.

All of the goods have to be transported to the customer – by truck, by ship or by rail. In the “modal split”, the road is a key pillar: according to the most recent survey, a good 57 per cent of all goods are moved by truck, 30 per cent by inland shipping and 13 per cent by rail. A total of 4,476,000 million standard containers alone are distributed on the continent or transported into the port. Trucks that leave the city in the afternoon are in Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Geneva or London the next morning. Rotterdam, of course, is also not free from congestion. A state-of-the-art traffic guidance system, however, shows the problem areas of the port on large digital boards.

 

The Log

03.07 00:21
After traveling for more than 10,000 km, the Record Run 2011 of three Mercedes-Benz trucks reached its destination at midnight.

02.07 16:57
It is 4:57 p.m. in Peine, and the Actros Record Run 2011 will soon go into its final round.

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