For container ports and their terminals to remain competitive and to handle the anticipated growth there are huge challenges to increase their productivity, to reduce the spatial pressure and congestion and to improve their hinterland accessibility. These challenges support the idea to consider or reconsider port concepts aimed at a different philosophy regarding hinterland transport operations. This operating approach assumes that the ‘port entry’ is shifted to an inland location. This location acts as a regional collection and distribution point for trucking operations, but should also be equipped to provide a rapid transfer to and from the port, to support a fast movement of containers through the port, and to avoid long storage in the port. The shift of ‘port entry’ can be accompanied by moving - beside container storage - also a number of other activities to an inland site that traditionally take place in the seaport, such as stuffing and stripping and warehousing, but possibly also customs clearance. This paper explores the opportunities of such a hinterland transport concept for the port of Rotterdam by focusing on the type of transport system to operate this hinterland concept. It discusses the possibilities and limitations to use existing conventional intermodal modes, i.e. rail and barge transport, and evaluates the potential role of new transport technologies in such a hinterland transport concept.


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