Recently Maasvlakte 2 was officially opened and the first seaport terminals will become operational in 2014. This causes the flow of containers in the port of Rotterdam to be fragmented even further, which will result in further delays for inland waterway shipping. This fragmentation will lead to an increase of little call sizes at the seaport terminals and this will have a negative impact on the efficiency. Focusing on sustainability and accessibility Port of Rotterdam has agreed upon challenging modal split ambitions for the coming decades. The modal split share of inland waterway shipping has to increase substantially in the coming years.


Research by strategy consultants Mercator Novus shows that bundling of container numbers through a Barge Service Centre (BSC) will provide a real solution within a short period of time. Rotterdam Container Terminal (RCT) of the Kramer Group has identified a suitable candidate that can operate the BSC. The effects are beneficial for both barge operators and seaport terminals. A BSC can also be launched immediately in a cost-effective manner and without requiring complicated agreements. It is in the communal interest of the Port of Rotterdam, the seaport terminals and barge operators that agreements are quickly reached on the operation of a BSC.



The philosophy behind the neutral Barge Service Centre is to bundle and save. This means that services not focus on a single operational aspect, but on all operational aspects. The Barge Service Centre thus derives its existence from the need to improve the quality of the entire Port of Rotterdam. Port waiting time is drastically reduced through a minor intervention in the chain.


The Barge Service Centre contributes to higher flexibility of container processing at Maasvlakte. During busy periods seaport terminals can have inland vessels processed at the Barge Service Centre, after which the containers are transported to the terminals by road. This means that skippers will have more time to spend on their own core activities.


The various stakeholders within the port of Rotterdam have agreed on a fundamental modal shift. By 2035 the majority of containers to and from hinterland areas must be transported over water. The Barge Service Centre is indispensable in achieving this objective and it will indirectly contribute to sustainable transport to and from hinterland areas.


The Barge Service Centre handles small bundles of containers centrally, which are then transported by road to the various seaport terminals. This central processing provides savings for seaport terminals and reduces delays for barges. Relatively expensive "call sizes" can be prevented through bundling.