UNIPORT, the last remaining deepwater container terminal in the Rotterdam city area, is to cease operations by late March 2020 owing to the ongoing loss of business to the Maasvlakte-based terminals.
The final straw appears to be the planned transfer of three CMA CGM services to Rotterdam World Gateway at Maasvlakte II. Transport trade union FNV Havens told UK's WorldCargo News that the loss of CMA CGM's PAD, NBX and Nefgui services will reduce Uniport's annual throughput below 200,000 containers - a red line that parent company Steinweg Handelsveem considers critical for viability.
Earlier, Maersk's "overflow" business - to relieve its Maasvlakte terminals - dried up, although Eimskip still is a major customer.
The 54-hectare Uniport terminal has an annual capacity of 400,000 moves (say, 700,000 TEU) and its quay wall measures 2,400 metres in length.
Steinweg's CEO Ulf Boll has promised to redeploy Uniport's 200-plus staff. The company has to resolve the personnel issue itself, as it is not party to the Rotterdam port-wide social agreement concluded in 2016 to protect dockers losing their job as a result of the opening of two new container terminals at Maasvlakte II.
Steinweg has 20 terminals in Rotterdam. Its nearby short sea specialist Rotterdam Short Sea Terminal (RST), which has the same management as Uniport, is the only big container stevedore left in the city area. Its gantry cranes lack the lift height and outreach for many deepsea ships, which makes Maasvlakte-based ECT an obvious contender to pick up business.
Launched in 1968 as Unitcentre, Uniport was Rotterdam's second deepsea container terminal after ECT (1966).