A contract will be signed in Rotterdam today for transporting reefer containers with fruit on inland waterway vessels within the Port of Rotterdam area. In the first instance this concerns some 6, 000 40-foot containers that, until now, have been transported by lorry. In sector-wide research it became apparent that the speed and reliability of inland vessels would satisfy requirements, at lower or equal costs. In addition logistic chain advantages could also be achieved through better planning of the arrival of containers at the warehouse. Initially fruit receivers gave a sceptical estimate of a maximum inland shipping potential of 15% of the volume, but this increased to more than 50%.
In the tender procedure following the research, the combination Barge Center Waalhaven, Barge Line Today and Post Kogeko was the winner. The one-year contract was conferred by a group of fruit receivers from Barendrecht and Rotterdam Fruit Wharf in the Merwehaven. The inland waterway project is a part of ‘Fresh Corridor’. Market partners, the sector association Frugi Venta and the Port of Rotterdam Authority work together in this to optimise the fruit logistics chain. The positive findings to date support the development of Rotterdam Cool Port in the Waal/Eemhaven area.
Physically, the project comprises the Maasvlakte (various container terminals), Merwehaven area and Waalhaven area triangle. The connection by lorry to the distribution centres in Barendrecht is located at the Barge Center Waalhaven, The companies located there, Bakker Barendrecht, De Jong Coldstores, Hillfresh, Hispa and Olympic Fruit, provide the starting guarantee. The top ten importers, together responsible for more than 80% of Rotterdam’s import, or more than 70, 000 40-footers, participated in the research. It is expected that more importers will also start to participate.
The background of the project was the continuous containerisation of fruit. The delivery of fruit on pallets in the Merwehaven area dropped quickly in favour of containers on the Maasvlakte. Transportation further inland still takes place entirely by lorry. Together with the negative impact on roads and emissions this leads to cost disadvantages for companies.
Rotterdam Cool Port
The favourable findings concerning the intermodal potential of fruit transport strengthen the realisation of Rotterdam Cool Port in the Waal/Eemhaven area. Delivery by inland vessels is an important part of this centre’s concept for fresh products, which the Port of Rotterdam Authority would like to realise by 2015. The partners can then start to transport more than 60% of the containers using inland vessels.