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Discount tariffs and delayed cranes at Rotterdam

Discount tariffs and delayed cranes at Rotterdam
The voyage from Shanghai took two months

After consulting with the port business sector, the Port Authority has decided that those discounts will become structural; though the tariffs will rise by 1% next year, it will take them to precisely the same level as in 2008.

Hans Smits, president and CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: “Over the past few years we kept providing occasional discounts. By turning them into a permanent discount, we offer ship owners long-term clarity.”

The parties have agreed to continue the existing discount for transhipment containers next year and a number of agreements were also made on adjustments to next year’s tariff structure – equalising the tariffs for short-sea and ro-ro, for instance. More reforms will be examined in the coming years.

Steven Lak, chairman of Deltalinqs, the organisation that represents the interests of the logistical and industrial companies in the port and industrial area, said: “This is a wise move of the Port Authority and sends a strong signal to the market. The port business community is an important driver for the economy of Rotterdam and the Netherlands. That is why it is good to keep working on competitive port tariffs and other costs.”

The Port Authority and Deltalinqs have a covenant concerning how sea port tariffs are set every year. Through structured market consultation, the sector meets the government’s desire for self-regulation of the tariffs. This consultation compares inflation, the market situation and economic developments, among other things. The tariffs apply for the sea ports of Rotterdam, Schiedam, Vlaardingen, Maassluis, Dordrecht and Moerdijk.

The Sustainability Fund established last year is still in place; a total of €5m (US$6.7m) of the revenue from port tariffs will be available next year for initiatives to make the port more sustainable, with €2m (US$2.7m) of that set aside to stimulate transport by rail.

In 2012, the Port Authority received €294m in sea port tariffs and €14m in inland port tariffs.

Meanwhile at DP World’s Rotterdam Gateway (RWG), the arrival of the first deep-sea quay cranes had to be temporarily postponed because of bad weather.

Due yesterday, the 127.5 m the ZPMC-manufactured cranes have been at sea for two months en route from Shanghai but were prohibited from entering the port. Weather and tide permitting, they will arrive today instead.

Designed to accommodate Ultra Large Container ships, the cranes have an outreach of 24 containers across and are equipped with a double trolley system, making it possible to unload a box from a vessel onto an Automated Guided Vehicle in two steps.

When it opens next year RWG will have a fleet of 11 quay cranes, all of them fully electric and remote controlled, with the process operators monitoring and assisting the loading and unloading of containers from a control room on the terminal.

Ronald Lugthart, RWG’s managing director, said: “I am looking forward to the moment that all the separate parts on the terminal can be tested in conjunction.”