The ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam are considering a joint bid for the German government's stake in Duisburg, the world's biggest inland port.
The German government is seeking buyers for its one third shareholding in the Rhine river port of Duisburg, a major intermodal hub at the center of the Ruhr industrial belt.
The Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam port authorities view a strategic stake in Duisburg as key to their plans to boost the share of inland shipping and rail in hinterland transport which currently is dominated by trucking.
By The Numbers: North America - Europe Eastbound Container Trade.
The three ports want to limit trucking's share of hinterland traffic, mainly containers, to between 35 percent and 40 percent, a Rotterdam spokesman said.
They also want to promote Duisburg as a rail hub that will bundle traffic to the three ports and improve their competitive position in the German and central European ocean cargo markets.
The three ports are currently considering how to mount a joint bid for the German government's Duisburg stake.
Duisburg boosted container traffic 25 percent in 2010 from the previous year to 2.25 million twenty foot equivalent units, outpacing growth of around 17 percent at Rotterdam and Antwerp, Europe’s top two box hubs.
Overall cargo volume soared to almost 28 million metric tons in 2010 from 22.8 million metric tons in 2009 and fell just short of the record 28.3 million metric tons handled in 2008.
The port's other shareholders, each with one third stakes, are the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Duisburg.
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