Holland plays a key role in the global economy. Its success is based on its sophisticated logistical infrastructure, world-class service providers and strategic location at the heart of Europe.

Logistics gateway to Europe and beyond

port_of_amsterdam_3The Netherlands plays a key role in the globalized economy, by connecting producers and consumers worldwide via sophisticated logistics. Success is based on a combination of cutting-edge infrastructure, world-class service providers, and a coastal location at the heart of Europe. Key factors are the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port and fourth-largest worldwide, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, a major European air-freight and passenger hub. Both are supported by world-class logistics service providers and an extensive network of roads, railways, inland waterways and pipelines. This powerful combination has made the Netherlands the ‘Gateway to Europe’ accounting for significant quantities of European road- and water-transport.

Key aspects and strengths

  • The Netherlands occupies a strategic position: it is central within Europe, and at the mouth of rivers which reach deep into the economic and industrial heart of Europe. The Rhine has the greatest concentration of freight flows anywhere in the world. This has allowed the Netherlands to develop into the gateway of Europe;
  • The Netherlands is the country of choice for European Distribution Centres is: 57 percent of all American and Asian EDCs on the European continent are located in the Netherlands. The country hosts over 19 million square metres of distribution centre capacity. This is equivalent to an area the size of some 3,000 soccer fields;
  • All major Dutch ports are serviced by companies specialising in storage, transhipment, industrial processing and auxiliary services, as well as transport, packing, warehousing and distribution;
  • The Netherlands is one of the leading road transport nations in Europe and the largest inland shipper. The Betuweroute, a dedicated double-track freight railway, enables rapid transport of containers and bulk goods from Rotterdam to the European hinterland;
  • From the Port of Rotterdam, goods can be delivered to all major industrial and economic centres in western Europe in less than 24 hours;
  • Under the ‘Smart Cargo Hub for Europe’ initiative, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Port of Amsterdam and the private sector aim to turn Amsterdam into the fastest and most-reliable multimodal hub for Europe;
  • The Netherlands is a leading country in electronic information sharing between port authorities and vessels;
  • The Port of Rotterdam is being expanded with 1,000 hectares of industrial land (www.maasvlakte2.com). Sixty – three percent is being allocated to container transfer (with a maximum processing capacity of 17 million TEU). The first container is scheduled to arrive at Maasvlakte 2 in 2013;
  • The liberalisation of the aviation sector has led to greater competition and has, in turn, made room for large intercontinental alliances between established airlines (e.g. Air France-KLM). Liberalisation has also opened the way for new, competitive products in air transport.

Facts and figures

  • Dutch inland shipping accounts for 54 per cent of all European (EU 27) trade shipping. Nearly half of the northwest European vessels (6,500 out of 13,500) sail under Dutch flag. In 2010, IMD Business School ranked the Netherlands 2nd worldwide with regard to the quality of its water transport infrastructure;
  • The Netherlands accounts for approximately 14 percent of international road transport in the EU;
  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is Europe’s third largest freight airport based on transported weight;
  • The Netherlands has the second-greatest cooling and freezing storage capacity in Europe;
  • Some 34,000 seagoing vessels and 133,000 inland vessels pass through the port of Rotterdam every year;
  • The Netherlands won three awards at the 2010 Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards for the categories: Best Seaport in Europe (Port of Rotterdam), Best Container Terminal in Europe (ECT), and Best Airport in Europe (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol);
  • The Netherlands achieved fourth place in the 2010 World Bank Global Logistics Performance Index (based on the efficiency and effectiveness of its customs, quality of transport, IT infrastructure for logistics, and ease and affordability of shipping).


*Source: HollandTrade, Cap Gemini, AmsterdamAirportArea, Nederland Distributieland, TNO, Supply Chain Magazine, World Bank, IMD Business School, Eurostat, Bureau Voorlichting Binnenvaart, Port of Rotterdam

Useful links:

www.hdl.nl – Holland International Distribution Council;
www.dinalog.nl – Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics;
www.tln.nl – Association of Dutch transport and logistics companies (Dutch language only);
www.knv.nl – Royal Dutch Transport Association (Dutch language only);
www.hollandintermodal.com – Cooperation between the Shortsea Promotion Centre Holland, Inland Shipping Information Agency and Rail Cargo information Netherlands;
www.portofrotterdam.com – Port of Rotterdam;
www.portofamsterdam.com – Port of Amsterdam;
www.schiphol.nl – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol;
www.hollandports.com – Central Portal for Dutch Ports and Shipping.

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