Port of Amsterdam: A dry bulk logistics gateway to Europe



Lex de Ridder, Amsterdam Port Authority, The Netherlands talks with Port Technology International



The Port of Amsterdam is one of the major players in The Netherlands, as logistic gateway to Europe. Together with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (a short 20 minutes drive away), the logistic hub Amsterdam has a unique combination of having both a major international airport and seaport.

With the excellent geographic location of the deep-sea port, Amsterdam connects the hinterland with an extensive network of waterways, road, rail and air-connections.

No other European port has such a short navigation course to the Rhine-river and the industrial and consumer markets in North West Europe (160 m consumers within 500 km).

In 2004, the Port of Amsterdam handled a throughput of 73 m tonnes of cargo.

This made Amsterdam the fastest growing port in N.W. Europe (+11.5 %) in 2004.

Amsterdam is the only port in N.W. Europe with the space for expansion for both business development, for logistics and industry, as well as for transshipment.

All major ports in Europe currently suffer from a lack of terminal capacity to handle the cargo volumes generated primarily by Chinese and Korean exporters. In Amsterdam, the Ceres Paragon Terminal with an annual capacity of 1 m TEU was recently put into operation. It is the only terminal in the world with loading and unloading ships on both sides. In Amsterdam, shippers can have their containers handled without delays. Amsterdam’s location, accessibility, the cargo-handling facilities (for containers, bulk and break-bulk cargo), warehousing, logistics service providers, international business climate, quality of life and 500 hectares space available for new business developments add up to unique business opportunities for every type of company. Port Technology International recently had a chance to ask the Amsterdam Port Authority about their dry bulk operations at the Port of Amsterdam.

What makes Amsterdam one of Europe’s leading dry bulk ports?

Amsterdam is one of the leading European Ports in all aspects of dry bulk operations including: Handling, storage, and distribution. The Port handles a plethora of different products, such as cocoa, coffee, coal and agricultural products. A substantial part of the incoming dry cargo is connected with the regional industry itself. Amsterdam’s excellent accessibility and substantial options for growth and expansion make it a leading choice for one’s business.

On top of this, the Port of Amsterdam provides a variety of logistic solutions for processing, as well as onward distribution. The continuous improvement of the port entrance is constantly helping to improve overall accessibility. The access from Amsterdam to the river Rhine and its tributaries is direct and unrestricted. In addition to the efficient road network, regular rail services from Amsterdam directly to the European hinterland open up a whole range of business opportunities.

What are the latest measures/innovations/technologies used to handle increased throughput and reduce ship turnaround time and why?

We are in the process of deepening the port entrance, improving conditions at the lightening facility in IJmuiden, as well as building new mooring facilities for capesize ships. Currently, the deepening of the port’s entrance via IJmuiden is ongoing in a phased manner. An increase from 54 feet to 56 feet has been achieved. The works are scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2006. The entrance to the port will then be suitable for ships with a depth of 58 feet (or 17.80 metres). The goal is to make Amsterdam better accessible for the biggest capesize ships.

What are you doing to improve conditions at the lightening facility?

Together and in close cooperation with the Dutch Central Government, and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, a study is ongoing about how to expand on the facilities and at what cost. Several possibilities are being investigated, varying from a second set similar to the existing facilities to a new basin next to the Corus Steel plant. The latter option offers an even extension of the facilities of the Corus quays as well. Presently, a storage facility for contaminated dredge spoil is situated on this location. The site can be cleared by moving the spoil to another dedicated site. The overall study is planned to materialise in the first half of 2006.


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