04-20-2010 - “In our new market approach, over the border, the corridor from Southern Germany and then further into Central Europe has priority”. This is what Martien Windhorst, Head of Logistics at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, had to say this afternoon during the ‘Railcafé’, the periodic meeting of and for the Rotterdam rail sector.

“Our rail policy has evolved from a more technically oriented to a commercial one, and our clients have a real influence on what we do or plan to do. In connection with this, we want to play an active role in reinforcing the ‘Anbindung’ of the hinterland, as the Germans call it; the development of services, for example in conjunction with PortBase and Keyrail, market research together with operators, and the development of terminals. With respect to the last point, this includes participation at the establishment and development level. There are specialists when it comes to operating the terminals.”

Hunting ground
For some time, Southern Germany was the exclusive ‘hunting ground’ of the North German ports, on the grounds of distances, tariffs, sentiment and convenience. The port of Rotterdam now has something competitive to offer. With the liberalisation of the rail sector, costs have been forced down and frequencies increased. (see: First Salzburg shuttle and Intercontainer doubles on Southern Germany). Inland shipping is improving both the frequency and speed. (see: Inland shipping more frequent and faster on upper Rhine) The accelerated concentration of Asia services, as a result of the crisis, in Rotterdam - often the first port for unloading and last for loading on the continent - offers advantages to importers and exporters. The ease and the administrative security provided by PortBase are changing Rotterdam from a complication to an opportunity for German market parties. All in all, the momentum is there to gain considerable market share in Southern Germany. To achieve this, cooperation with or from other ´Westports´ such as Amsterdam and Antwerp is an option currently being investigated. The ports of  Rotterdam and Amsterdam are both shareholders in `Keyrail´, which operates the Betuwe rail route, and PortBase, which optimises data interchange. With the port of Antwerp too, cooperation with respect to rail is a possible option.


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