The logistics industry would be nothing without shipping ports providing a gateway around the world for goods. Each of these ports is unique, an important piece of the complex puzzle that is global distribution. To highlight the value each of these ports brings to the table, we present Port Report. This weekly series shares some of the history behind shipping ports around the world. In this installment, we discuss the Netherlands’ Port of Rotterdam, the largest seaport in Europe.
The Port of Rotterdam holds the honor of being the largest seaport outside of East Asia. It covers 41 square miles over a distance of 25 miles. With a shipping volume of 14.35m TEU according to the World Shipping Council, it is one of the most important ports in Europe.
Port of Rotterdam – History
The Port of Rotterdam is one of the oldest shipping ports in the world. Its story begins in 1283, when a small fishing village was created on the Rotte River. It came to greater prominence in 1360 with the completion of a new canal. As the port expanded, the Port of Rotterdam quickly became increasingly important. Doubly so in the 17th century, when a new trade route to the indies brought a significant increase in shipping traffic. During World Ware 2, the port suffered a major blow when an attack by Germany destroyed 1/3 of its facilities. Source
The Port rebuilt following the end of the war, and this allowed them to replace their older buildings with modern, updated facilities. Today, the Port of Rotterdam Authority manages the port. The port has grown significantly since rebuilding, and in 2020, Rotterdam was the world’s tenth-largest container port in terms of TEUs. Source
Aside from managing the port’s day-to-day, The Port Authority’s efforts have largely been focused on further development. They place particular emphasis on accessibility, sustainability, and safety as they build toward the future.
The Port of Rotterdam has declared its intention to be “the smartest port,” hoping to lead the way into the future with its many innovations. The Port has digitized many of its logistics services, allowing for greater automation within the port. Alongside this innovation, the Port has also begun exploring further developments such as Blockchain and autonomous shipping. Source
Recently, the Port also announced that a new container terminal would be built at the port, with an expected capacity of 6 to 7 million TEU. The first phase of operation for this new terminal begins in 2027. Source
Can’t get enough Port Report? Click here to check out last week’s edition, about The Port of Singapore!