'Water-wise everything is very well organized in the worldÂ's number one port, but to stay abreast of the competition full attention should now be paid to the hinterland', is also the opninion of former Alderman Port, mr. Rene Smit.
'On land trucks are immediately stuck in traffic jams. Afterall, the client is looking for the best possible distribution and this may be well not by going through Rotterdam. Port companies should not only focus their attention on transhipment but also take control of onwards logisitcs', according to Rob Spierings, Director Shortlines. He supports investments in alternative concepts in order to secure the whole product flow.
Although Rotterdam is still the worldÂ's largest port, over the years its competitive position vis-a-vis smaller seaports, such as Antwerp, has been seriously threatened.
'No surprise', according to Jean-Jacques Moyson. 'Any client considers Rotterdam port just as an intermediate stop for his cargo on its way from A to B. The port should be considered as an important link in the transport chain. Attention should not be only focused on capital intensive investments, but also on for example investments in staff. Both high and lower educated people hardly ever look for career opportunities in the port, whereas they can make exactly the difference in terms of flexibility which todayÂ's economy demands from any port.'
Rotterdam port is expensive compared to many other European ports. Frederik Huitema senior consultant of Ernst & Young, proposes to make all competitive conditions identical within Europe, thus ensuring that all governmental expenses will be calculated on exactly the same way. 'This creates an equal level playing field,â€™ according to Huitema.
Focus should be on the client. Investments in todayÂ's activities has a higher priority than for instance investments in a future Maasvlakte II. However, as procedures for such an investment scheme take long, they should be started anyway. Investments in increased flexibility and efficiency will ensure RotterdamÂ's competitive position.
(source: Ernst & Young)