Maersk Plans to Nearly Double Rotterdam Terminal Capacity by 2026

Rotterdam terminal expansion
Prinses Amaliahaven by TopView courtesy of APM Terminals

Published Apr 3, 2023 3:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk’s terminal company APM Terminals completed an agreement with the Port of Rotterdam Authority to move forward with a large expansion of the company’s terminal in the Maasvlakte II region of the port. The planned expansion of the terminal which opened right years ago is the second major announcement by Rotterdam in the past year for container terminal expansion.

Under the agreement which was signed on March 31, APM Terminals will nearly double its annual through capacity by two million TEU in addition to the original 2.7 million TEU capacity. The terminal sits on land entirely reclaimed from the North Sea with Maasvlakte 2 completed in 2013 as one of the biggest civil engineering projects in the Netherlands.

The Port Authority is now completing the construction of new quay walls in the areas that had been held for future expansion. Rotterdam reports it will complete its portion of the construction in mid-2024. This agreement also marks the completion of all the areas held for expansion in the portion of the port.

APM Terminals reports the expansion involved 47.5 hectares (approximately 117 acres) along with an additional 3,280 feet of deep-sea quay. The new section is expected to be operational in the second half of 2026.

“We are very pleased with APM Terminals’ decision to expand the terminal and to choose Rotterdam as the hub for its Western European operations,” said Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “This additional terminal capacity is much needed to continue handling the increasing container volumes in the coming years in an efficient and sustainable way.”

APM Terminals invested €500 million a decade ago to develop the new terminal which was built on 86 hectares (212 acres) with 3,280 feet of deep-sea quay. The project included plans for future expansion calling for the terminal and related operations to grow to a total of 180 hectares (445 acres) with over 9,000 feet of quay. In addition to Maersk other shipping lines using the terminal include MSC, ONE, Hapag, and last year COSCO sent its first ship to the terminal.

The terminal was notable when it opened as it was billed as one of the world’s most advanced fully automated terminals and one of the most environmentally sensitive. APM reports around 80 percent of crane movements are automated, with the remaining manual operations being performed remotely. The facility is also entirely powered by energy from wind turbines.  It has a fleet of 62 battery-powered Lift-Automated Guided Vehicles and 54 Automated Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes. The new section will also be prepared for shore power services.

In November 2022, the terminal set a record handling 5,730 containers loaded or discharged in 27 hours from the Manila Maersk (19,630 TEU vessel at 210,000 dwt). That equated to 212 port moves per hour (PMPH) for the containers.

A.P. Moller – Maersk had previously agreed to two other projects adjacent to the existing terminal. An 18.5 hectares site was leased and will open next year for cross-dock and cold storage facilities. The facilities will provide on-dock services for Maersk expanding capabilities for the shipping line. A further 16 hectares will be used by Star Container Services, another Maersk subsidiary, for empties storage.

The expansion effort by AMP follows last year’s announcement with Hutchison Ports and the MSC Group’s Terminal Investment Limited Sàrl (TIL) to expand their terminal to reach a total capacity of five to six million TEU with the first phase of the expansion operating by 2027. The Port of Rotterdam currently has 14 terminals in total as well as 20 container depot yards.