Rotterdam today officially opened the first phase of Maasvlakte 2, Europe’s largest container terminal hub, which is expected to unleash a fierce battle for cargo across the Le Havre-Hamburg port range at a time of sluggish traffic growth.
“With Maasvlakte 2, the Netherlands is throwing the door wide open to the new generation of container ships. And we offer space for the latest terminals,” said Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, as she opened the new facility to shipping.
A fleet of around 25 vessels, from a three-master sailing vessel to a modern container ship, were the first to sail to Maasvlakte 2 via the Yangtze Canal.
The first phase was completed on schedule and came in €150 million ($195 million) under its €1.7 billion ($2.2 billion) budget, said Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
“From today, Maasvlakte 2 is an integral part of the port area ... accessible by road, rail and water,” Smits said.
Maasvlakte 2, which is built on land reclaimed from the North Sea, will become Europe’s largest container hub toward the end of 2014 when two privately owned terminals with a combined annual capacity of 8.5 million 20-foot-equivalent units are due to start operations.
APM Terminals will open the first terminal, with a capacity of 4.5 million TEUs, followed by a 4 million TEU facility being built by a joint venture between DP World and four ocean carriers — MOL, CMA CGM, Hyundai Merchant Marine and APL.
The construction of the two terminals is on schedule, Smits said.
The port is investing around $4.5 billion in Maasvlakte 2, which will also feature industrial and logistics parks, while the total private investment is put at some $20 billion.