North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Economy Minister Harry K. Voigtsberger intends to press the federal German government to take cross-border infrastructure projects into account in implementing the national port concept. The minister made this clear during a parliamentary evening on the theme Transport and Logistics hosted recently by the NRW Economy Ministry and the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the NRW representative office in Berlin. Mutual relations and federal German transport policy were at the focus of the meeting.
“North Rhine-Westphalia is the hinterland and the extended quayside for the ZARA ports (Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp). Good transport links are key to economic cooperation. We attach great importance to trimodal solutions and properly functioning logistics chains. The Betuwe Freight Railway that links the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam with the Ruhr is especially important for NRW,” Voigtsberger said.
Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “North Rhine-Westphalia has always been a natural partner for us in Rotterdam through the link along the Rhine. Without the industry and economy over there and in other regions along the Rhine, the port of Rotterdam would never have achieved the status that it has today in Europe. We would like to make this clear through this event in Berlin. We feel ourselves indebted to the German economy.”
The figures on the cargo handled demonstrate this. According to surveys conducted by the Port of Rotterdam Authority, in 2010 around 110 million tonnes of cargo handled in Rotterdam were shipped to and from Germany. Of this, 72 million tonnes came from North Rhine-Westphalia or were destined for industry located in the area.
“For North Rhine-Westphalian industry, the port of Rotterdam, along with the other western ports, is the gateway to the world. We have our own efficient inland ports in NRW and to the west vibrant sea ports right in front of our door. Our exports-based economy is for this reason able to maintain itself in global competition. NRW is also a state with ports – that is this evening’s message,” Voigtsberger said.
Hans Smits: “The announcement from the federal German government that it is to invest an additional billion euros in infrastructure next year is precisely the signal that we need during times of increasingly restrictive budgets. As the Port of Rotterdam Authority, we will ourselves also continue to invest the accessibility of our port, for example through Maasvlakte 2, which is currently under construction. Investment in infrastructure is investment in future growth.”
In the interests of our common customers, the aim is to continue to improve the logistics chain in the future, along with North Rhine-Westphalia and the inland ports located there, Smits said.
Dredging Today Staff, December 14, 2011;