Spotlight on: Rotterdam

Rotterdam Bridge (Teal Overlay)

Rotterdam is the home of the Gateway to Europe and the largest port in Europe: The Port of Rotterdam. The total surface area of the port is more than 12,600 hectares. It is the biggest Port outside of Asia and a top ten Container port worldwide.

Let’s look at some of the numbers for 2021 first:

  • The total throughput in 2021 was 468,709,000 metric tons of cargo. 325 million tons were outbound, and 143 million tons were inbound.
  • The port processed 15,3 million TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units). Around 8 million TEUs came into the harbour, and 7.3 million were outgoing.
  • Looking at gross weight, 25% of the inbound weight is containers and more than half of the outbound weight.

World Renowned Facilities

The Port of Rotterdam has state-of-the-art infrastructure, modern facilities, and excellent intermodal connections to the hinterland. The Port, the City of Rotterdam, and many companies operating in the Port keep investing billions in improving and expanding the facilities, connections with the hinterland, terminals, and digital innovations. It is the only one in Central Europe that can accommodate the largest dry bulk, liquid bulk, and containerships 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

The History of Rotterdam and the port.

The Port of Rotterdam started very close to the city centre. You can still visit de Oude Haven or Old Harbour. When the weather is excellent, you can enjoy a drink and a bite on one of the many terraces on the old docks, and you are close to many of the city's iconic sites. Did you know it started as a fishing port in the 15th century?

It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Port laid its foundations for becoming the leading port it is now. Rotterdam became one of the first global ports, supporting the rising trade volumes of the Dutch colonial empire. The port started expanding along the Maas River towards the North Sea.

After expanding its facilities for bulk cargo and oil transhipment at the start of the 20th century, the Port expanded again after the second world war. In the 1960s, the port expanded onto reclaimed land for the first time, creating the Europoort complex, which became the heart of Europe’s petrochemical industry.

With the growth of containerised shipping, the port opened its first container terminals in the 70s. In the 80s new container terminals were built, again on reclaimed land. It is something the Port has been doing ever since, with as the most significant example the new Maasvlakte II and the state-of-the-art container terminals that have recently been opened there.

Did you know?

  • Rotterdam started as a small settlement called Rotta on the Rotte River between the 9th and 10th centuries. The city is called Roffa in local slang.
  • While Schiphol Airport is now one of the three largest freight airports in the Netherlands, the first commercial air shipments left Rotterdam from an airport in the Waalhaven in 1924.
  • From 1962 to 2005, the Port of Rotterdam was the largest cargo port in the world.
  • The Customs Support Head Office is located in Rotterdam

Do you need customs clearance in Rotterdam or the Netherlands?

Customs Support provides clearance services for every major sea and airport in the Netherlands. Through Customs Support Safety, we also offer gas measurement and degassing services for containers and other closed spaces across the Netherlands. For more information, contact one of our specialists.