The European Container Port System and its Multi-port Gateway Regions

The European Container Port System and its Multi port Gateway Regions

Source: adapted from Rodrigue, J-P and T. Notteboom (2010) “Comparative North American and European Gateway Logistics: The Regionalism of Freight Distribution”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 497-507.

The European port system is composed of two major maritime facades, one on the Atlantic side and the other on the Mediterranean. In particular, the Northern Range covers Le Havre to Hamburg and accounts for a large share of port activity. The ability of the Northern Range to develop hinterland accessibility has allowed its ports to capture a large share of the European hinterland. The strong growth of the Europe-Asia trade should have substantially benefited the growth of Mediterranean ports as gateways to the European hinterland. However, a large share of the traffic remains captured by Northern Range ports.

Inland terminals can be incorporated as “extended gates” to seaport terminals and, as such, can help to reduce container dwell times on seaport terminals. Container terminal operator ECT in Rotterdam (part of HutchisonPorts) follows an active inland terminal network development strategy acting as extended gates to its deep-sea terminals. Through ‘European Gateway Services’, ECT offers shipping lines, forwarders, transport companies, and shippers a variety of services to facilitate the optimal flow of containers between the deep-sea terminals in Rotterdam and the direct European hinterland. ECT bundles cargo, which allows for highly frequent inland barge and rail connections to various logistics hotspots in the European hinterland.

The inland network includes the TCT Venlo rail and barge terminals (the Netherlands), DeCeTe terminal in Duisburg (Germany), TCT Belgium in Willebroek (Belgium), ACT in Amsterdam, MCT in Moerdijk, AVCT in Avelgem (Belgium), and LCT in Liège (Belgium). ECT is not the only deep-sea terminal operator developing an active extended gate policy. The door-to-door philosophy of other companies such as APM Terminals, DP World, and Eurogate has transformed these terminal operators into logistics organizations or organizers/operators of inland services.