APM Terminals (APMT) says it has signed a letter of intent to sell APM Terminals Rotterdam, which it has operated since October 2000, to Hutchison Ports. The sale does not involve APMT’s other major terminal in Rotterdam, Maasvlakte II, which opened in April 2015.
Both terminals are built on Maasvlakte, artificial land with sand dredged from the North Sea made near the entrance to the Port of Rotterdam. Construction of the first section of Maasvlakte began in the 1960s. Maasvlakte II, which is further west, is where APMT’s newer Maasvlakte II terminal is located, and was built between 2009 and 2013.
APM Terminals Rotterdam has annual capacity of 3.25 million TEUs, according to the terminal’s website. APMT, part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, says the facility it is selling remains one of the largest container terminals in Europe and is a major transshipment center for the British, Irish, Scandinavian and Baltic markets.
APM Terminals Rotterdam operates with straddle carriers and is a highly efficient facility, says Frans Waals, an editor and senior shipping consultant at Dynamar, a shipping information provider and consultant based in the Netherlands. He noted Maasvlakte II has room for growth.
Lars Jensen, CEO of Sea Intelligence Consulting, said, “Not that I have specific insights, but to me it clearly indicates that the strategic capacity available in Maasvlakte II is sufficient for Maersk’s purposes.”
Hutchison will be able to turn APM Terminals Rotterdam ”into a leading, modern, future-proof terminal,” APMT said. Hutchison owns the adjacent ECT Delta terminal. APMT said Hutchison has indicated it is interested in talking to the Port of Rotterdam Authority about extending the lease for the terminal they are buying.
“Complete transfer of shares is based on the agreement that, in the short term, APM Terminals Rotterdam will continue to exist as an independent organization with a five year volume guarantee” from Maersk and “no forced redundancies within 4 years of signing the agreement,” APMT stated.
Consultations will be held with trade unions about the intended sale, and approval must be requested from competition authorities before the sale is completed.
The terminal APMT is retaining, Maasvlakte II, opened in 2015 and initially had capacity of 2.7 million TEUs. APMT said it “remains the world’s most advanced fully automated terminal, and equipped to handle the largest container ships way into the future.”
In 2018, APMT said the addition of two cranes and other improvements would increase volume capacity by more than 20%.
Unlike APM Terminals Rotterdam, which uses straddle carriers, Maasvlakte II uses automated guided vehicles to move containers around the terminal.
“The use of green energy and fully electrified equipment made it (Maasvlakte II) the world’s first zero-emission terminal for CO2, NOx and particulate emissions,” APMT noted. “With fully fenced-off automated areas, separating men and machines, it is also one of the safest.”
Maersk also has a nearby facility in Rotterdam, APM Terminals Inland Services, that operates under the brand Star Container Services and carries out container sales and leasing, container repairs and maintenance, and container conversions, in addition to offering full and empty storage.