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The logistics centre has been relocated

The OpenIJ Logistics Centre is the place where all materials for the construction of the new sea lock are stored. Initially, the centre was located in Amsterdam's Western Port Area, but recently the site has been relocated and the materials have been stored close to the lock complex.

Wouter Sloven is Logistics Manager at OpenIJ and has been involved in the construction of the sea lock for 5 years. He talked to us about the old and new logistics centre.

Wouter explained, "The old Logistics Centre of OpenIJ was located in the Western Port Area of Amsterdam. We rented a small part of the business site there. The lease, however, was going to expire. So we moved and found a place somewhere else. The new site of the Logistics Centre of OpenIJ is now located near the sand depot in Velsen Noord."

Transport by water

The logistics centre is used for storing and transporting goods by water. Wouter explained, "Many materials are heavy and very large. We cannot transport them by road. That's why we need a place where we can store everything with access to transport by water. That is the purpose of our logistics centre. From here we can put the materials on a barge and transport them to the lock complex.

OpenIJ Logistics Centre

Materials are shipped from the logistics centre to the lock complex. Sloven added, "In fact, this is a location for a short interim storage of all materials. The new location has the same function, but is slightly smaller than the location in Amsterdam. There has already been quite some progress with the construction of the sea lock, so we need fewer and fewer materials. The OpenIJ logistics centre is expected to be vacated at the end of March 2021."

Three questions to Graham Wastell from Silver Star Agencies

The new sea lock that is now being built will replace the IJmuiden North Lock. This new 'front door' for the area around Amsterdam has many advantages. Companies in the region are preparing for the moment when the lock will be put into operation.

Graham Wastell, director at Silver Star Agencies, explained what the new sea lock means for Port of Amsterdam and how he is preparing for when the lock will be operational.

What exactly does Silver Star Agencies do?

"At Silver Star we handle the logistics of sea-going ships in port. This means we take care of customs clearances, inform the authorities and coordinate with berth managers so that ships can moor on time. On behalf of the shipping company, we also take care of the crew on board. If they need anything, we take care of it. Ships make their way from the North Sea to Amsterdam and that means we are very dependent on the sea lock as access point to the port."

Why is the new sea lock so important for the port?

For the port of Amsterdam, a new 'front door' is very important. Graham explained: "We have noticed that the current lock is in need of replacement. The lock's mechanical system has slowed down and don't forget that the lock itself has been through a lot. Ships are also getting bigger with more powerful engines and because of the dimensions of the North Lock we are up against a kind of 'Amsterdam max'."

"As an agency we are adapting to the changing world around us. An increase in scale is part of this. Ships calling at the port are getting bigger and bigger. If you want a transition, then as a port you have to be ready to go through that transition. An increase in scale will make a positive contribution to sustainability."

"The larger ships that will soon be able to pass through the new sea lock will be able to transport a great deal more cargo. As a result, fewer ships will be needed for the same amount of cargo. By creating more space for larger ships in the future, we will be able to reduce CO2 and our own footprint."

How are you preparing for preparing for when the new sea lock will be operational?

Of course the port of Amsterdam should also prepare for the arrival of these larger ships and their passage through a larger sea lock. Graham explained how they are preparing for this:

"With a larger lock, bigger ships will soon be able to come to the port of Amsterdam. With the new sea lock, the biggest ships will be able to lock through independent of the tide. Ships will therefore be able to enter the North Sea canal at any time. Because the new sea lock is so large, it will also be possible to lock through several ships at the same time."

"At Silver Star, we do not manage any berths but, just like Port of Amsterdam, we are discussing things with companies that have opportunities to increase the number of berths."

"The size of ships - length as well as breadth - has increased notably over recent decades. With wider ships, the available space will become relatively narrower. We need to prepare for this. That is why we are working together to ensure that a number of terminals will be extended before the lock is put into operation. As you will understand, the new sea lock is very important for our business."

Satisfaction with communication and information has risen again

Every six months, Rijkswaterstaat examines the satisfaction of local residents, companies and other stakeholders and interested parties with the information and communication of the new sea lock project at IJmuiden.

luchtfoto nieuwe zeesluis
Foto: Topview Luchtfotografie

Over the past six months the report marks for Rijkswaterstaat and building consortium OpenIJ have risen again.

On a scale from 1-10, the score awarded to Rijkswaterstaat has risen from 7.4 to 8.1. Contractor consortium OpenIJ now scores a 7.3. In the previous survey, at the beginning of 2020, this was still a 6.4. The top 3 means of communication remain website (59%), Rijkswaterstaat's digital newsletter (52%), and the regional newspaper (30%).

Information provision on the construction of the new sea lock

People are of the opinion that they are quite well informed. The percentage of satisfied people has risen from 62% to 74%. People living in the vicinity of the lock complex are the most satisfied with the provision of information, at 80%. Of the people who live less than 3 km from the construction site, 60% are satisfied with the provision of information.

There is also dissatisfaction, which relates to the duration and cost of the construction, the inconvenience to traffic and several setbacks.

Rely on the construction

The attitude towards the effects of the construction of the new sea lock has become somewhat more positive. Confidence in the construction has also increased and, according to the study, the nuisance for local residents has also decreased.

Just as satisfied as before 2017

In recent years, the new sea lock has had to deal with several setbacks and events that have had a negative impact on its satisfaction and report marks.

Positive information about the sinking operations of the lock gate chambers (2018 and 2019) and the installation of the upper wheel carriage (2020) have raised the marks to 8.1. This brings satisfaction with the project back to the same level as in 2017. It is very pleasing to note that many positive reactions have been received from the surrounding area with regard to communication and the provision of information.

Transhipment in North Sea Canal ports down by more than 10 percent due to coronavirus crisis

Transhipment in the seaports in the North Sea Canal region - Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Beverwijk and Zaanstad - fell by 10.7% to 48.7 million tonnes (2019: 54.6 million) in the first six months of this year. The impact of the global corona virus crisis on the transhipment figures is clear.

Transhipment also fell in the port of Amsterdam during the first six months of 2020. The volume declined from 45.2 million tonnes in the first half of 2019 to 39.8 million tonnes this year (-12%). This drop was also clearly a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vital infrastructure

Koen Overtoom, CEO of Port of Amsterdam, says: "For the first time in years we have seen a reduction in the transhipment in our port. And it is a significant one. However, we are not pessimistic."

"In the first half of the year, we have shown in difficult conditions how crucial the port is for the region and for the country. As vital infrastructure, we have continued to manage shipping traffic and to handle cargo flows, without letup. We have thereby contributed to keeping the country and the economy running."

"Our distribution clients in particular have had a strong six months, with the distribution of foodstuffs and packages. The market for transport fuels (petrol, kerosene etc.) is now recovering."

"It is hard to say what the second half of the year will look like. The fuels market is too fickle for that, and the impact of the coronavirus is uncertain. We do anticipate that in the current conditions the shortfall in volume for the year as a whole, will remain limited to the level that we have seen in the first six months," says Overtoom.

Increases and decreases

The decline in Amsterdam in the first six months was attributable to both liquid and dry bulk and containers. The transhipment of liquid bulk (mainly transport fuels) fell by 5.1% to 24.7 million tonnes, compared to 26 million tonnes over the same period last year.

Despite decreased aviation and road traffic, the volumes of transport fuels remained relatively constant. This is due to the fluctuating market for these cargo flows, which results in constant movement.

The volume of dry bulk fell by 21.2%. This was in particular due to a substantial decline in coal to 4.6 million tonnes, compared to 8.2 million tonnes last year (-43.6%). The unexpected, non-structural growth last year amplified the decline in coal volume this year. The transhipment of grains also fell (-15.4%), and there was a reduction in break bulk (-18.2%).

Sea and river cruise also ceased as a result of the corona virus pandemic. Port of Amsterdam decided, in consultation with the Amsterdam Amstelland Safety Region, to suspend cruise ships from the port from mid-March onwards, in order to minimise the risk of infection.

The port has been open to cruise ships again since mid-June, and the number of visits from river cruise ships is increasing slowly and cautiously. There were 21 visits in the first half of the year, of which 18 in January and February. The port of Amsterdam expects to welcome more river cruise ships in the second half of the year. On the other hand, at this moment the port does not anticipate sea cruise vessels returning in the second half of the year either.

Container transhipment fell by 31.6%.This cargo flow had grown steadily in recent years, partly as a result of the focus of the port of Amsterdam on short-sea lines. The decline can therefore also be attributed to the coronavirus, which resulted in scheduled services being partly suspended.

Varied picture across the region

Transshipment in IJmuiden fell slightly, by only 3.4% to 8.76 million tonnes. In Beverwijk the transshipment volume fell by 44.3% to 194,000 tonnes, and Zaanstad saw a 15.3% increase in transshipment to 84,000 tonnes.

Dutch Seaports win International Award for Sustainability

The Dutch seaports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Terneuzen/Vlissingen, Moerdijk, and Groningen have jointly won the ‘World Ports Sustainability Award’.

They received the award for a joint project aimed at the application of OECD guidelines for seaports. These government guidelines concern corporate social responsibility in international business. The seaports examined how they could contribute to making occasionally risky cargo flows more sustainable.

The Seaports Trade Organisation (Brancheorganisatie Zeehavens, BOZ) has examined how seaports can influence — from their position in the supply chain — the process of making cargo flows sustainable. These cargo flows sometimes involve risks such as environmental damage, human rights violations or exploitation. Such risks are also referred to as International CSR risks: International Corporate Social Responsibility.

On the basis of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the BOZ has examined the role and responsibility of seaports as one of the many links in the supply chain. It has also examined how seaports can contribute to reducing the international CSR risks for cargo flows processed in or transiting through the ports. The seaports have used the results of this study to identify the international CSR risks and to list the arsenal of measures available to seaports. The project exemplifies how the port community can make a positive contribution to making cargo flows more sustainable.

The study was part of the Work Programme Seaports in which the BOZ, consisting of Port of Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam, North Sea Port, Port of Moerdijk, and Groningen Seaports, worked together with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Dutch Seaports honoured by Award

Koen Overtoom, CEO of Port of Amsterdam, responded with great pleasure on behalf of the Dutch seaports: “The Sustainability Award represents an important recognition of the efforts of the Dutch seaports by the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH). This award therefore constitutes a significant honour for us. The project has strengthened the cooperation between the seaports in the area of sustainability. This cooperation will strengthen us permanently in our shared ambitions to achieve progress in making a number of international supply chains more sustainable. We will also continue talks with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Social and Economic Council on the topic of International CSR and the further elaboration of this theme.”

Programme background

The International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH), the alliance for the global port community, launched the World Ports Sustainability Program in 2018. The ports collaborate internationally within the IAPH by exchanging knowledge and experience concerning sustainable development in the international port community. Since 2018, the World Ports Sustainability Awards have been awarded annually for best practices. The Dutch seaports received the Award in the category of Governance and Ethics. The Awards are presented annually during the annual IAPH World Ports Conference. This conference was slated to take place in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2020, but has been cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The awards are now presented digitally to the winners, including the Dutch seaports.

Port of Amsterdam transhipment increases in the first half-year by more than 12%

Transhipment in the North Sea Canal Area of the seaports of Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Beverwijk and Zaanstad rose in the first half of 2019. This was the result of an increase in transhipment in the first six months of this year in the port of Amsterdam by 12.3% – another record.

Transhipment in the North Sea Canal Area of the seaports of Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Beverwijk and Zaanstad rose in the first half of 2019 to 54.1 million tonnes, an increase of 7%. This was the result of an increase in transhipment in the first six months of this year in the port of Amsterdam by 12.3% to 45.4 million tonnes – another record.

In IJmuiden, transhipment fell by 12.3% to 8.5 million tonnes, Beverwijk recorded a 23% increase to 349,000 tonnes and in Zaanstad transhipment fell by 13.2% to 72,000 tonnes.


The increase in Amsterdam in the first half of the year was caused by both liquid and dry bulk and containers. Liquid bulk transhipment rose by 10.6% to 25.9 million tonnes. The 13.8% increase in dry bulk was caused by an increase in the transhipment of coal (23%) and grains (21%) to 17.8 million tonnes. The increase in coal transhipment can be attributed to exports to non-traditional markets. This is not expected to be structural. The increase should also be seen in the context of the sharp fall in recent years. Transhipment in the number of containers also increased by 35%, partly due to Samskip's short sea liner service that the port of Amsterdam focuses on.


These records were also offset by decreases, including in breakbulk (down 20%). There was also a fall in the number of seagoing cruise ships visiting Amsterdam in the first half of the year. In 2019 this was 51, compared to last year’s 74. The introduction of the tourist tax for transit calls on 1 January 2019 led to a number of vessel owners moving to IJmuiden or Rotterdam. The number of river cruise ships that put into Amsterdam in the first half of the year was 1,189, compared to 1,272 a year earlier. This decrease was also caused by the tourist tax. The difference of 83 relates to transit calls. These are cruise ships which, like sea cruises, are subject to tourist tax.

Remainder of 2019

Koen Overtoom, CEO of Port of Amsterdam: ‘After record transhipments in 2018, 2019 has also got off to a very good start. We expect the situation to stabilise in the second half of the year. The increase in coal transhipment has to do with favourable coal pricing conditions. The seasonal build-up of coal stocks later in the year is usually reflected in the transhipment figures. Last year also saw a significant decline in coal transhipment for the German hinterland due to the low water level. Growth in liquid bulk is expected to continue under the current favourable market conditions. We also expect to see further growth in general cargo.’

Port of Amsterdam sees a record transhipment in 2019

Port of Amsterdam set a new transhipment record in 2019 with transhipment totalling 86.9 million tonnes, compared to 82.3 million tonnes in 2018. This represents a 6% increase. The total transhipment of all ports in the area reached 105 million tonnes, compared to 101,8 million tonnes in 2018.

Transhipment in IJmuiden fell by 7.9% to 17.2 million tonnes, while Beverwijk and Zaanstad saw transhipment stabilise at 0.7 million tonnes and 0.2 million tonnes, respectively. This is revealed in the provisional transhipment figures announced today.

Large increases

The record set in the port of Amsterdam in the previous year is primarily attributable to an 18% increase in the transhipment of energy products, such as coal, to 15.5 million tonnes, compared to 13.1 million tonnes in 2018. The increase in coal transhipment can be attributed to market conditions, which led to strong growth in exports to non-traditional markets such as Asia and the Black Sea region. This growth is not expected to be structural. The closure of the Amsterdam-based Hemweg power plant 8 in December resulted in the cancellation of a large coal transaction. The transhipment of oil products also rose in 2019 to 50 million tonnes, compared to 47.4 million in 2018. This increase was caused by favourable conditions in the petrol market.

Other dry bulk also increased by 6% - a substantial growth - to 33.6 million tonnes, compared to 31.6 million tonnes in 2018. Container transhipment also increased by 12% and transhipment in Ro-Ro rose by 17%. Transhipment of chemical products and construction materials rose by 3.4% and 2.4%, respectively.

Large decreases

These records were also offset by decreases. The agri cargo flow fell in the previous year by 5% to 7.9 million tonnes and general cargo fell by 35% compared to 2018.

Cruise calls

Amsterdam received 117 seagoing cruise ships in 2019, compared to the previous year’s 180. The main reason for this decrease is due to the introduction of the tourist tax, which entered into force on 1 January 2018. The number of seagoing cruise ships that will be visiting Amsterdam in 2020 is expected to remain the same as last year; 12 of the cruise ships will be coming to the city for the first time. The number of sea cruise passengers fell to 294,000 compared to 425,000 in the year prior. The number of seagoing cruise ships visiting IJmuiden increased to 62 from the previous year’s 30. The number of river cruise ships that called in 2019 was 2,282, compared to 2,007 a year earlier.

Imports and exports

Imports in the port of Amsterdam increased by 5.7% in the previous year to 53.2 million tonnes. Exports grew by 5.5% to 33.6 million tonnes.

Leased-out land

A total of 20 hectares of land was leased out in 2019, compared to 43 hectares in 2018. Large parcels of land were leased out to Granuband and the 5.7-hectare distribution centre at the Conakryweg. Port of Amsterdam also purchased a 6-hectare lot in HoogTij in 2019, after having purchased 10 hectares in 2016.

2018: increase in ship calls while number of serious accidents remains virtually unchanged

The port of Amsterdam welcomed a total of 41,424 barges and 7,525 sea-going vessels in 2018, including 180 sea cruise ships. The numbers for 2017 were 40,012 and 7,011, respectively.

The number of recreational vessels passing through the IJmuiden sea locks was also up from 2017: from 9,207 to 10,179 last year. While the number of shipping accidents increased from 32 in 2017 to 49 in 2018, the number of serious shipping accidents remained virtually level from 2017. One fatal accident unfortunately occurred in the port in 2018.

Although the port saw an increase in shipping activity levels in 2018, Harbour Master Marleen van de Kerkhof believes there is no causal relationship between this increased activity and the number of incidents. "This is explained in the notes to these statistics. A large number of the accidents that occurred involved minor incidents such as vessels generating high waves that inconvenienced other waterway users. We aim to reduce the number of shipping accidents of any kind and size. Having recorded between 30 and 35 accidents over the past three years, we exceeded this number in 2018. This is due to the fact that we began recording all incidents 2018. We were already keeping track of major incidents, but are now capturing minor occurrences as well.”

These efforts are part of the ‘Just Culture’ programme devised by the Harbour Master’s Division, which is patterned on similar, well-established procedures in the aviation industry.

Van de Kerkhof: “The programme is designed to foster a culture that ensures maximum learning experiences in relation to incidents and near-misses by assessing these incidents carefully and methodically. Rather than seeking to apportion blame, the aim is to identify any learning points in the process.”

Any incidents are discussed by the parties concerned and recorded in a standardised format, leading to improved evaluations and also revealing possible trends.

Van de Kerkhof: “By exchanging information with each other at an early stage, we can address potential risks and prevent any incidents. Our goal is to create the safest possible port. One way in which we achieve this goal is by establishing clear rules and enforcing these rules. In that regard, I believe there is no such thing as ‘safe enough’.”

Explanation of the figures (in Dutch)

Titan LNG commits to building first LNG bunkering pontoon in Europe

Titan LNG, one of the leading suppliers of LNG to the marine and industrial markets in North West Europe, has taken the final investment decision (FID) on the first LNG bunkering pontoon in Europe, the Titan LNG FlexFueler1. It has been financed with support from the Province of North-Holland.

The FlexFueler1 will be operational from Q3 2018. The pontoon will be stationed in the Port of Amsterdam where it will serve as a stationary delivery location to inland water barges and small sea-going vessels.

Vessels that require bunkers to be delivered while simultaneously loading and discharging their own cargo, will be served by deploying the FlexFueler alongside these larger vessels throughout the ARA region, the world’s second largest bunkering hub.

Titan LNG has received several enquiries for FlexFuelers in other regions, which are currently being developed.

Having the ability to deliver LNG in a range from 30 to 600 cubic metres (cbm) per hour, the FlexFueler1 is initially outfitted with two 380cbm tanks, with the option to add two further tanks in line with increasing market demand.

Niels den Nijs, CEO Titan LNG, commented: “Since the launch of the FlexFueler project in 2016, we have continuously incorporated feedback from key stakeholders resulting in an optimised design in terms of both functionality and safety. Our team is grateful for all feedback received during the discussions with customers, ports, the shipyard and classification society, Bureau Veritas; all of whom contributed to improving the FlexFueler design. We believe that our decision to build the Titan LNG FlexFueler1 will contribute to the adoption of LNG as a marine fuel in this vital bunkering region.

“The FlexFueler offers tremendous versatility when loading and delivering LNG. On top of the stationary and manoeuvrable delivery methods she can load LNG from trucks, LNG transport ships or via the Gate terminal in Rotterdam. This flexibility supports our robust delivery promise while ensuring long term cost competitiveness.”

Michael Schaap, Commercial Director Marine Titan LNG, added: “The FlexFueler concept is the logical evolution from the truck-to-ship bunkering that Titan LNG carries out on a regular basis. We have a strong track record of making truck-to-ship as efficient as possible, but it is still far from optimal for a vessel owner because of the associated downtime. Our recently launched T-piece truck-to-ship operation, which allows for two trucks to discharge at the same time, already reduces the downtime. However, the FlexFueler represents a solution that resembles conventional bunkering practices, which is what the market demands.”

Revisions to IMO Annex VI will see the sulphur content of fuels burned limited to a maximum of 0.5% from 2020 on a global basis to reduce SOx emissions. For vessels operating in Emission Control Areas (ECAs), like the North Sea and The Baltic Sea, an even lower percentage of 0.1% is applicable. This impending regulation has triggered increasing interest from ship owners and operators seeking cleaner, compliant and cost-effective fuels.

LNG meets all IMO Annex VI SOx emissions standards from 2020, while greatly reducing levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).

Environmental Ship Index now includes score for carbon performance

News item

The Environmental Ship Index (ESI) added carbon performance as a new criterion on 1 July 2017. Previously, the index only weighted the environmental performance of vessels based on their sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

This makes the index the first sustainability standard in international shipping that includes carbon performance – and, specifically, the reduction of carbon emissions – in its scores.

The ESI draws on historical data already incorporated into the index. It compares a vessel’s fuel consumption and the number of nautical miles it has completed over the past three years (for example, 2013, 2014 and 2015) with those for the following year (2016). If the vessel consumed less fuel in relative terms – that is, having improved its efficiency – this means its carbon emissions were lower as well. ESI has opted for this unconventional method on account of how difficult it is to measure carbon emissions.

Port of Amsterdam Harbour Master Marleen van de Kerkhof: ‘Clean Shipping is one of the key elements of our Sustainable Port strategy. Our Port has participated in the Environmental Ship Index from the outset. We feel it is an important tool for us, as it rewards vessels with the best sustainability performance in a clear and transparent way: the “greener” the vessel, the higher the score. The number of vessels participating in the ESI programme has increased to 20 percent since the programme was launched back in 2011. All stakeholders get to benefit from participation: vessel operators receive a discount on their harbour dues, while the port area benefits from the vessels’ reduced emissions.’