First terminals connected to Container Exchange Route

Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG), Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam’s (ECT) Delta terminal and Kramer Group will be the first terminals to be connected to the Container Exchange Route (CER). The Port of Rotterdam Authority has signed an agreement with these parties. The first shipments across the lane could take place by the end of 2023, the port authority predicts.

Deals were already concluded with Customs at the end of June 2022 on the connection of the State Inspection Terminal on the CER. Port of Rotterdam Authority will now realise the link-up to the sites and the connection to the closed transport route. Talks with several container companies on the Maasvlakte are still ongoing, reported Sigrid Hesselink, spokeswoman for the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Interestingly, no concrete talks or negotiations have yet taken place with APM. ‘We want to open the runway in the relatively short term, so we are starting now to commission the runway in phases with the groups that have the most interest.’ The CER is a closed internal lane for exchanging containers between terminals, container depots, distribution centres and customs facilities (in case of an inspection), constructed by the port authority. This is an approximately 17-kilometre-long closed road network, which will link a large part of the terminals, depots, distribution centres and the State Inspection Terminal at the Maasvlakte. Carriers will have the opportunity to travel along the lane via manned transport. The 17-km-long CER has been ready for a year now, complete with flyovers and branch lines to the various terminals. Only, those branch lines stop a stone’s throw from the gates of the various terminals because no agreements had yet been made with the terminals on the connections and the tariff for using the runway. Now the first parties have. ‘The principals – which can be terminals, shipping companies, warehouses, distribution companies and customs – can give their carriers permission to use the CER after agreeing on the usage agreement, Hesselink explains. ‘We do not limit the number of carriers that can use CER. Any carrier that meets the conditions of the CER User Agreement will get access to the CER lane.’ The transport cost in this case consists of, the carrier’s price set between market parties and the fee for internal lane use; so-called ” infra-charge”. This price is 5 euros per vehicle for vehicles up to 4 teu and 17.50 euros per vehicle for vehicles between 5 and 10 teu, reports Hesselink.

The commissioning of the CER will take place in phases. ‘In the initial phase, we expect a few 100,000 teu to pass over the CER. Further increases can then be expected once success is proven and the product is further developed and optimised. ” The various parties have used the past period to make the connection and usage agreements and conclude the agreement with each other.

Ronald Lugthart, CEO of RWG: “The creation of the CER plays a crucial role in the development of the Port of Rotterdam with the aim of growing, perfecting and efficient 24/7 exchange of containers for all logistics suppliers and stakeholders.

Kees Groeneveld, chairman Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers (VRC): ‘Efficient handling of cargo flows is very important for container shipping companies when choosing their ports of call. The CER offers greater reassurance, consideration and less risk of congestion. These efficiency benefits improve the port of Rotterdam’s accessibility and competitiveness.’

Jan Kamp, Regional Director Customs – Rotterdam Port: ‘The CER imperceptibly aligns with Customs’ desire to take additional action in the port of Rotterdam as part of the fight against drug trafficking. Customs wants to monitor the transport between the terminals and the State Inspection Terminal over the CER so that this transport takes place in a controlled and closed environment. The CER lane thus contributes to strengthening the security and incorruptibility of the logistics chain.’

Leo Ruijs, CEO of Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam: ‘The envisaged time savings, better traffic safety and lower emissions through probate and safe container exchange in the port of Rotterdam, strengthen the position of the port of Rotterdam.’

André Kramer, CEO of the Kramer Group: ‘Transport on the CER improves the accessibility of the terminals and thus makes a major contribution to solving bottlenecks in container logistics.’