Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is the commercial and cultural centre of the country. Sea transportation has been an important activity of the city since the 14th century. Today Amsterdam has a very modern and efficient multi-purpose port. The industrial area, stevedoring terminals, waterbasins and infrastructure include 2,600 ha of land of which approximately 450 ha are available for port and port related industries. The 25 Amsterdam port water basins together measure 600 hectares. A wide variety of ships and cargoes are being handled at some 30 terminals, handling dry and liquid bulk commodities, containers, roll-on roll-off and general cargo. Only the very large crude carriers can not be accommodated in Amsterdam. Over the past 25 years the Amsterdam terminals have invested considerably in heavy cargo handling gear and site renovation.
The city of Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination too and this applies also for cruise ship passengers. In 2009 over one hundred cruise liners have moored near the city centre at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, bringing the total number of cruise passengers to 225.000. In addition Amsterdam has become the European river cruise centre as well, recording nearly 1,200 inland waterway cruise calls in 2009.
The last decades the Amsterdam port has expanded west of the city. The old port area, east of the city, has been abandoned since modern cargo handling requires a completely different layout. New deep-water port basins have been constructed, like the 600 ha Afrikahaven. There, EDF (Energy de France) operate a new coal terminal, while a 1.1 million m3 tank farm is under construction for Rotterdam based Vopak, to be ready in 2011. A terminal for coasters and inland barges has just been taken into operation. This port area has 3,800 metres quay length and still has space available for new transshipment activities.
The Amerikahaven (liquid and dry bulk, container and deep sea ro/ro terminals) represents an area of 800 ha and 6,000 metres quay length. Coastal bulk carriers discharge seeds at the edible oit factory of Cargill.
The Westhaven (container, roll-on/roll-off, car, dry bulk and soft commodity terminals) has a total area of 700 ha and 8,000 metre quay length.
Other port basins for general cargo, tank storage, mineral processing and industry add to 800 hectares.
The distribution sector is growing steadily and especially large exporters from the United States and Far Eastern countries have set up in Amsterdam as the city has all facilities at hand for their European distribution. Some commodities are being processed or modified for further purposes. Cars are being adapted to the requirements of the countries of destination, coal are blended to obtain the right mixture for power stations, computers are fitted with plugs of the countries of destination, additives are blended with gasoline to get the right mixture for retail selling. These extra activities are being described as value added logistics.
The Amsterdam port handles many commodities for the European food industry. US multi-national Cargill is one of the largest port users with its five Amsterdam subsidiaries: the IGMA grain terminal, a soy crushing plant, a citrus juice terminal an edible oit factory and a cocoa mill. Amsterdam is the largest cocoa port in the world, handling half a million tons annually, about 20% of the total world production. Once solely shipped in bales, cocoa is now shipped in bulk too. Floating grab cranes discharge the cocoa from the ships holds into specially prepared sheds and silos. But a significant part of the cocoa imports however arrives in containers, stowed in bulk or in bales.
After the Vopak tank storage plant has been finished in 2011, the five tank farms will boost Amsterdam to the world's largests gasoline port in the world. It is estimated that Amsterdam's annual gasoline throughput will grow to 25 million tons in 2012. The BP, Oiltanking, Europoint, NuStar and Vopak terminals then have have a total tank storage capacity of over four million cubic metres.
Japanese cars (Nissan, Subaru and other brands) are imported via the Koopman Car Terminal. From there distribution takes place to the European dealers by train, inland waterway and road. Nissan operates a large centre for the distribution of its spare part throughout Europe. Eggerding in the Coenhaven imports, storage and processes of a wide variety of minerals.
Ever since the sailing era The Netherlands has had to import timber, as there is no home production. Forest products, timber, pulp and paper, have been and still are being imported via Amsterdam by shipping lines serving Scandinavian and other Baltic countries. Hard and soft wood and other building materials are distributed throughout Europe from different sites in the entire port area.
The Amsterdam port also houses the Rotem Amfert Negev artificial fertiliser mill, the chemical plants of Uniroyal and Akzo Nobel, the PGG Coatings paint factory, the Fetim DIY Product importer and the Dutch Cocoa chocolate factory, to name a few.
There has never been a lack of space in the North Sea Canal port area. Yet the expansion of the Amsterdam port as a result of its excessive growth of the cargo handling figures during the past fifteen years requires careful management. The Port of Amsterdam welcomes new transshipment activities and is preparing old and new port areas for future liner and tramp trades, distribution and warehousing.
A small 19th century church will be the only reminder of an old hamlet at the end of the basin; this will be used for cultural and social port events.
The Amsterdam Container Terminals has an annual capacity of 600,000 containers (950.000 teu's). Its 350 metre basin has large gantry cranes on both quays. This enables discharging and loading over both boards simultaneously, thus cutting down on discharging and loading times. This new concept is unique in the world and has already attracted much attention in the container world. The total quay length is 1.350 metres, there are nine container cranes and 50 straddle carriers. The terminal is equipped with a highly sophisticated computer check-in system. The port of Amsterdam offers a strong competitive alternative to the container transport market.
On the Westhaven the all-weather Waterland Terminal operates three covered quays for ships up to 6,000 tons dwt. Loading and discharging of railroad carriages and trucks are carried out indoors as well. The company has doubled its climate-controlled warehouse space, and has adapted its entire terminal to the increased cargo flows. Shippers of steel products, pulp and other moisture sensitive cargoes use the terminal. Cargo throughput of the terminal has trebled since its opening in 1997. Transhipment is performed ship to ship and ship to shore simultaniously. Two overhead cranes have a lifting capacity of 40 tonnes. The extended reach of these cranes enables stevedores to move cargo directly from the coaster into an inland waterway barge. The water depth in the hall is 10 metres, the height at the entrance is 17 metres, while the covered quay is 80 metres long so that coasters of up to 100 metres in length can be handled; their superstructure remains outside.
In the old port area near the town centre the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA), designed by the well-known American architect Larry Malcic, offers a futuristic maritime look. The 600-metre PTA quay accommodates up to three cruise vessels at the same time. Passengers relax before boarding in the luxurious terminal accommodation. The terminal facilities include a changeover point for tourist coaches and canal trip boats, tourist information counters, a collection point for day trips and coach excursions, conference rooms and exhibition spaces.
There is office space for the handling staff, customs and immigration officers. The PTA is equipped with a two-story underground parking garage with space for 75 coaches. In 2009 over 100 cruise ships and 225.000 passengers were handeled. But Amsterdam became the European river cruise centre as well. In 2009 over 1,200 calls of these inland cruise ships were registered.
|Jan van Riebeeckhaven
*open in 2001
Amsterdam Port Authority
1000 GK Amsterdam