The Dutch Port of Rotterdam says it is launching a “Food Hub”, expanding its position as Western Europe’s biggest transit port for agricultural, horticultural and fishery sector products.
A 60-hectare industrial site is being prepared to offer optimal facilities for agrofood sector companies.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority says that population growth and increasing prosperity, particularly in emerging economies, have resulted in agrofood becoming a growth market.
After the U.S., the Netherlands is the world’s largest agriculture exporter. Almost €92 billion was traded in 2017, which is one of the reasons why the Port of Rotterdam, with its 16 million tonnes of throughput per year, is market leader in Western Europe.
“We aim to further accommodate our client’s growth in agrofood,” explained Emile Hoogsteden, Director of Containers, Breakbulk & Logistics at the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “The Rotterdam Food Hub offers excellent opportunities for this: not only are Maasvlakte’s large deep-sea container terminals just a stone’s throw away, but the Rotterdam Food hub will also have access to multiple berths for sea-going vessels especially equipped for refrigerated cargo.”
Berths for inland vessels will also be available and warehouses will be located immediately adjacent to the quays to enable refrigerated and frozen cargo to be stored, processed or transported quickly.
“In agrofood, we work with perishable goods, so speed is crucial,” said Hoogsteden.
Another advantage of the Rotterdam Food Hub is that various shared facilities can be used on the site. For instance, quays and services for transport, storage, access control and customs can be shared efficiently. Hoogsteden:
“The Rotterdam Food Hub forms a fantastic and extremely welcome addition to the agrofood hotspots that already exist in the Port of Rotterdam, such as Cool Port and the large cold storage warehouses including at Maasvlakte and Eemhaven,” Hoogsteden said. “Its location close to Greenports such as Barendrecht, Ridderkerk and Westland is, of course, also ideal.”
Of the 60 hectares, approximately 45 hectares are available for issue to companies, and land allocation discussions are already ongoing with candidates for some 35 hectares. Preparatory works such as soil surveys already took place this spring and the construction of a temporary road and utilities for the building work will start from June.
The development of the site, which will be known as ‘Kop van de Beer’ (Head of the Bear), will start in July with construction work for the site’s first client. The first companies will be operational there by the end of 2020.
Rotterdam is by far the biggest agrofood import and export port in Western Europe. As far as imports are concerned, the top three are successively citrus fruits, bananas and grapes. A lot of fruit juices also find their way to the consumer via Rotterdam.
Vegetables, onions and potatoes are the biggest exports, followed by pork, poultry products, cheese, outdoor plants and herring. The country to which most agrofoods are exported from Rotterdam is China, while most imported products come from South Africa, Brazil and Costa Rica.