In the near future, a physical Customs document will no longer be required to transfer containers from one Maasvlakte terminal to the other within the Port of Rotterdam.
Participating terminals APMT, ECT and RWG have made agreements with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration for a so-called ‘paperless transfer’ system, which, beginning July 1, 2016, will considerably reduce the administrative workload – particularly for shipping lines – and simplify the exchange of containers between Maasvlakte’s five deep-sea terminals.
Each year, many tens of thousands of containers that arrive at the one Maasvlakte terminal need to be shipped on via a different terminal, and this total is expected to increase in the years ahead as a result of shifting shipping alliances, among other things.
The Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers and Agents (VRC), the participating container terminals of ECT, APMT and RWG, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration and the Port of Rotterdam Authority have agreed to take advantage of new European customs legislation which recently started offering the option to transfer containers from one terminal to another without further paperwork – under specific conditions.
Rob Bagchus, Chairman of the Rotterdam Terminal Operators’ Association (VRTO), said, “The paperless transfer of containers between the different Maasvlakte terminals is important for Rotterdam’s position as a port. That is why the terminals have worked to realize this system as quickly as possible.”
As of July 1, 2016, all five deep-sea terminals in the Maasvlakte area will be ready to implement the paperless transfers system. In due time, the parties also expect to be able to expand this procedure to the bundling of rail and inland shipping volumes. In addition, the concept may in time be rolled out to other container terminals in the Port of Rotterdam.
“Paperless transfers simplify the transport of containers from one terminal to the other and improve Rotterdam’s competitive position,” said Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “The next step will be the construction of the Container Exchange Route, which allows for the transport of containers between terminals via a closed system. According to our planning, this project will be rounded off within two years. The agreements presently entered into regarding paperless transfers will also apply to the Container Exchange Route.”
“These agreements allow the shipping companies to exchange containers between the different container terminals at Maasvlakte without a mass of paperwork. It’s an important step that allows us to keep costs low for companies active in Rotterdam – particularly in light of the strong competition faced in the Hamburg-Le Havre range,” said VRC Chairman, Kees Groeneveld.
“Wherever possible, we are happy to minimize the administrative burden on the private sector,” said Anneke van den Breemer, Regional Customs Director for the port of Rotterdam. “The current agreements offer adequate safeguards for preventing irregularities.”