MSC, the world’s largest container shipping company, will have its own terminal in the port of Rotterdam. This could be bad news for the port of Antwerp Bruges, which currently remains MSC’s “headquarters” with Antwerp.
Italy’s MSC, which overtook Maersk at the beginning of this year as the world’s largest container shipping company, will set up a large, new terminal on Maasvlakte in the Dutch port of Europe. The Port Authority of Rotterdam announced this yesterday. The station, the first phase of which is supposed to start in the third quarter of 2027, will consist of five so-called deep-sea berths with a total length of 2.6 km. Once fully operational, the terminal will be able to handle 6 to 7 million TEUs, the standard container size that indicates its size: a twenty-foot equivalent unit.
The announcement is good news for the Port of Rotterdam, with CEO Allard Kasselin saying he is “very pleased” with the plans of MSC, which was already active in Rotterdam but will expand its activities in the future. He speaks of “a significant consolidation of our leadership position as the largest container port in Europe”. According to Castelen, the expansion will contribute to improving the competitive position of the Port of Rotterdam.
They may not be satisfied with MSC’s expansion in Rotterdam, but they may be in Antwerp, where the shipping company is currently a “very big” player in container traffic and is considered a “hub”. There are no official figures, but it is said that MSC alone will make up half to 60 percent of the container plant in Antwerp. “MSC’s plans in the port of Rotterdam are not surprising,” said a spokesperson for the port of Antwerp Bruges. Shipping companies are looking for space and capacity. The Port of Antwerp Brugge is also working on additional container capacity in Antwerp with a similar time horizon to meet capacity for this growing sector.”
“MSC obviously wants to lay their eggs in different baskets,” says shipping economist Christa Sys (UA). “Of course they were already active in Rotterdam, but with this they have fixed their position further and increased their flexibility between the different ports. The choice of MSC can be explained at least in part by the container congestion in the port of Antwerp. At the moment, it is difficult to estimate the tangible results of the port of Antwerp. But it certainly makes It’s more difficult.”
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