Amsterdam seeks to lure HK business

THE Amsterdam Westpoint, an international multi-modal logistics centre at Amsterdam port, has launched an aggressive marketing programme to woo Hong Kong shippers and shipping lines to its facilities.

Managing director of Amsterdam port - the Netherlands' second largest - Godfried van den Heuvel said the initial response was encouraging with potential clients indicating interest in the facility as a gateway to European markets.

''This centre will be concentrated with goods from South America and also from Southeast Asia,'' he said.

The port authority of Amsterdam, which gave the go-ahead to start work on the Amsterdam Westpoint project on July 1 last year, has allowed 70 hectares to be developed, including a 1,000-metre, deep-sea quay and roll-on, roll-off facilities.

There is also a harbour basin for inland ships and 300,000 sq metres of outdoor storage space.

On site, there will be additional platform warehouses with covered loading bays to accommodate and handle trucks, containers and office space.

Water, road and rail connections are provided by the North Sea Canal; the Orbital Motorway A-10 and the projected Westrandweg; and a special rail service centre which, in turn, all link with Schiphol airport.

According to Amsterdam port, cargo throughput has dipped by 14.5 per cent in the first six months of this year to 15 million tonnes compared with the same period last year.

The port said the fall would be offset by better performance in the second half, resulting in an estimated 2.1 per cent fall to 30 million tonnes for the year.

Amsterdam reported a sharp decline in dry bulk and liquid bulk cargo throughput, which was countered slightly by a 13 per cent rise in container handling.

Shippers could hire space from the centre for stuffing and stripping containers and transport them through the road, railroad and inland barge transportation system linking the port to other destinations in Europe, Mr van de Heuvel said.

Diego Fernandez Naranjo, commercial director of Amsterdam Westpoint, said the centre would provide, on a single site, a wide range of storage, transshipment and transport facilities.

''This will save time and money since freight can then be transshipped directly to any form of transport.

''The logistics centre will offer ample choice of warehousing and office space,'' he said.

Additional office facilities would be located in the adjacent container tower, Mr Naranjo said.

''We want to offer exporters a new approach whereby they leave their profits in Europe by having an office there so that they can penetrate into the European market.

The Amsterdam Westpoint project, which is linked to the master plan for the North Sea Canal Area, forms part of the national transport policy recently drawn up by the Dutch government.

This policy proposes that alternative forms of freight transport should be stimulated through combination of modes.

Mr Naranjo said with the formation of the single European market this year, Amsterdam Westpoint provided the ideal location for a well-organised distribution and transport of goods.