agreement in principle Kloosterboer and ECT to build Rotterdam Cool Port

Fresh Corridor Congress shows possibilities intermodal fruit and vegetable transport

Yesterday the Fresh Corridor congress took place in Rotterdam. It became clear that the congress was needed, because of the massive interest of importers, transport contractors, governments and other service suppliers. Director Hans Smits of Havenbedrijf (port authority) Rotterdam, even had some news. He announced the agreement in principle by container transhipment company ECT and
cooled and frozen storage company Kloosterboer to build a Cool Port at ECT's City Terminal. Actually the deal has not been finalised yet, but the agreement was symbolically confirmed by a 'handshake'.

Deadline: early 2015
The most important reason for the development of Cool Port is the move of conditioned cargo is from traditional reefer vessels to containers. Now already 90% is delivered to Rotterdam in containers. It is the intention that Rotterdam Cool Port becomes the turntable for conditioned products for destinations in Europe. From Rotterdam Cool Port the conditioned products are in an efficient and sustainable way transported further into Europe. The idea makes it possible to stress inland navigation, rail and short-sea. Rotterdam Cool Port will strengthen the position of Rotterdam as a port for cooled and frozen products and connects the harbour with Greenports in the Netherlands.
Smits mentioned early 2015 as a deadline, when the facility has to be operational. According to the leader of the harbour company, Rotterdam has an unassailable position as a reefer port with 12,000 reefer connections at the terminal, twice as many as the second European port. ECT will in the first phase make an area of six hectares available, which is immediately adjacent to the Rail Service Centre (RSC). Harbour company Rotterdam is prepared to invest in the opening up of infrastructure. Rotterdam is in the running for development by World FoodCentre, an experience centre under the sign of food.
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Road, rail and water
Minister Maxime Verhagen called Cool Port a good example of cooperation between top sectors Horticulture, Agrofood and Logistics. "The Agrologistics support the strengthening of the competitive position of the Dutch agricultural sector and in solving social challenges, such as spoiling of food. More and more goods in cooling containers enter the Netherlands in order to extend the durability of fresh products.
This needs a new way of storage and transit. Thanks to the new Cool Port fresh products remain fresh for longer and all kinds of transport meet: road, rail and water." Furthermore minister Verhagen mentioned, that in case of a new government of PvdA/VVD on the basis of the election, the present top sector policy will be continued.
In a chain discussion Piet Hein Horstmeier of ECT, Jack Kloosterboer (Kloosterboer), Michel Jansen (Total Produce) and Fred Krijnen (RFW/Sea Invest) and Coert Beerman talked further about the company cluster Cool Port. Jansen mentioned the development to be an opportunity to move fruit to Rotterdam. At Total Produce already 90% of containers arrive over water. The surplus value is according to Kloosterboer especially in less expense for the consumer. According to Fred Krijnen 
the wishes of the customer are the deciding factor. "The retailer decides these days, which foods, when and via which ports enter."

Sharing of information
Also the subject 'ICT for synchromodal transport' was on the program. Flexible, adjusted to market requirements, choices between road, rail and water put new requirements to the supply of information in the chain and with the governments involved. Those present did fully agree with each other that trust is required in order to share company information." Ultimately everybody is afraid to share information as everybody is concerned about his own trading," Steven van Erven of Nature' Pride mentioned.
During the final chain discussion there was some more discussion from the hall about the position whether Rotterdam Cool Port was a competitor or partner in this process of growth. Members of the panel Mart Valstar (Best Fresh Group), Jan Blankers (Mooy Logistics), Erik Bongaerts (Frankort & Koning) and Niels Dijkman of ABN Amro regarded the development mainly as a partner in the growth of logistics. "I think there are enormous opportunities for us as service providers in order together with Cool Port and our principals to start working."

According to Mart Valstar there is no competition from Cool Port. "The Westland as a production area and Rotterdam as an import location have already been working well together for more than a century. Simply because our customers require both Westland tomatoes and Spanish oranges transport over water is a visiting card in the area of durability. We aleady compete every day, but we do have a common denomination, which we can add and other countries cannot."
Peter van der Laan, Rotterdam Fruit Wharf, had some criticism. "If the Cool Port story is to become a success, streams are to be bundled and then there certainly is competition of Cool Port with for instance cold stores in Westland. Also the inland navigation will become more expensive than transport by road and who will pay for that? According to Mart Valstar the price technical problem will be solved. "We took a vessel loaded with pomelo's to Rotterdam." Niels added that he believed that in time durability will certainly receive surplus value from the customer, especially because of the consolidation going on in the retail.
The Rotterdam cabaret trio The Tunes supplied a cheerful note at the end of the congress with their humorous songs, one of which was specially written for Fresh Corridor with a chorus: 'This only Fresh Corridor can!'

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