With an important position on the edge of Europe, Holland is an outward looking country with a strong economy. The freight forwarding infrastructure in Holland has seen substantially investment over recent years so as to help boost its overseas trade and its role at the heart of European international freight.
Holland’s location gives it easy access to markets in the UK and Germany, with the port of Rotterdam being the largest port in Europe. Rotterdam is a vital hub for freight transport.
Rotterdam is well geared up to handling the considerable volume of imports and exports that go through the port every day. There is an ongoing programme of improvement which keeps it at the leading edge of freight services, including the construction of Maaslakte 2, which is now under way.
The port has estimated that freight transport throughput will double to 22M Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) by 2020. This may seem optimistic given the current subdued trading conditions worldwide, but last year’s record of just under 11M TEU was double the figure just three years ago.
To help facilitate the anticipated increase in freight transport, the Port of Rotterdam is turning attention to the problems of absorbing the extra container traffic generated in its hinterland and how best to influence the modal split and increase the use of rail and barge for freight forwarding in preference to freight transport by road. This is driven both by needs to increase efficiency and also environmental concerns. The current inter modal split is around 13% rail, 30% barge and 57% road. It is targeted that this changes to 20% rail, 45% barge and no more than 35% road in the medium term.
At present, there can be intense traffic congestion, which is a problem for freight companies and shipping companies, as activities are constrained by the Maas at the Northern border and the Hartland Canal at the south. This means that road traffic cannot filter south along the coast and can only cross to the Northern side through the Maas Tunnel.