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Herwi Rijsdijk: “Pilot project shows financial feasibility”

Coolport Westland: go or no go?

For several years there has been talk of the implementation of Coolport Westland to transport the containers of fruit from the port of Rotterdam to the Westland over water. The aim is to develop of a Westland container terminal in Vlaardingen. An option has now been taken on the last available quay on the north bank, the site of the Zevenmanshaven on the Maassluisedijk in Vlaardingen. “We now have to make a decision: Go or no go,” said Herwi Rijsdijk during the meeting of Agro Businessclub Westland.

Herwi first talked about the development of the import of exotics and containerisation in the Westland. “In 2000, ten per cent of exotics arrived by container, in 2015, that was the case for 95 per cent of volume. Because of containerisation, every trader is now personally capable of importing fruit. This year, about 30,000 containers will be transported by companies from the Westland. The exotic category, avocados, mangoes and sweet potatoes in particular, is increasing by 10 to 30 per cent per year. In the Westland, we have Nature’s Pride, Westfalia, LBP, Cool Control, ADB Cool Company, Bratzler, Satori, Eurofresh, Euro West and Yex, all companies dedicated to ripening these products.”

“The fruit has to be transported by barge from Maasvlakte 2 to Vlaardingen, after which it’s transported to the Westland by lorry. With this, we realise a better logistical planning and receiving of refrigerated containers, we limit lorry kilometres and CO2 emissions and avoid traffic problems on the A15 and in the Botlek, Thomassen and Benelux tunnels. Moreover, we boost the strength of the Westland Agro-logistical Cluster by combining Dutch and import product in one logistical flow to retail or final customer,” Herwi emphasised.

The starting point is that the costs of transport are at most the same as haulage, assuming a price of 230 euro per container. “A pilot project lasting three months showed the feasibility of this. The barge and terminal operator sails and shuttles for 130 euro per container, and the transporter also drives back and forth for about 100 euro per container, although that is naturally his free choice,” Herwi said. An investor for the site has now been found, and the province of South Holland, the Vlaardingen municipality and the Port of Rotterdam have also agreed to the project.

The question now is which companies will join. Some importers and service providers are still a bit skeptical about the feasibility due to the delay that sometimes occurs with sea containers in the port. That’s why some of the 11 companies from the Westland participating in the project dropped out, while others are enthusiastic. “Those interested can sign up,” Herwi concluded.

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