Drewry: Rotterdam’s Terminals to Become Fierce Competitors

The new and existing terminals at the Port of Rotterdam will become fierce competitors bringing about an inevitable shake-up of customers in the port’s terminals, according to the shipping consultancy Drewry.

The prediction comes in the wake of the opening of a fully-automated terminal by APM Terminals, the Maasvlakte II terminal.

However, addition of the Masvlakte II together with Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) – a consortium of terminals company DP World and four ocean carriers – may exceed the port’s short-term demand growth by some margin. Indeed, as part of a failed court claim, ECT (Rotterdam’s largest incumbent terminal operator) argued that Maasvlakte 2 will see the port go 50% over capacity, threatening handling rates, Drewry said.

ECT: Maasvlakte 2 will see Rotterdam port go 50% over capacity

Hutchison Ports-owned ECT also has the potential to later expand its 2008-opened Euromax terminal into the adjoining Maasvlakte 2 site. RWG and MVII will initially increase Rotterdam’s capacity by approximately 5 million teu, rising to 8.5 million teu at full build out.

The consultancy firm believes that ownership structures will play a big part in what services go where.

“RWG has APL, MOL, Hyundai and CMA CGM as shareholders, the first three of which are members of the G6 Alliance, while the latter is part of new Ocean Three group with CSCL and UASC.”

“MVII will naturally look for 2M services, of which sister company Maersk Line is a member alongside MSC, but APMT will not want to cannibalise too much business from its existing Rotterdam terminal. At the same time, carrier links to existing ECT terminals (which include joint ventures with MSC-affiliated TIL and the first four CKYHE Alliance members – Cosco, K Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin) will influence possible transfer decisions,” Drewry added.

NYK reportedly also has a minority stake in ECT Rotterdam but its shareholding level is confidential.

The success of a new terminal depends on various factors including attracting new customers and ability to attract the existing ones, however the key driver is of course demand.

“History suggests full utilisation will take some time but the new Maasvlakte 2 terminals will probably not have to wait long to see the transfer of large portions of traffic due to direct and indirect shipping line shareholder connections,”Drewry concluded.

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