Expansion of synchromodal network thanks to stronger position in the Netherlands

Expansion of synchromodal network thanks to stronger position in the Netherlands

H.Essers signed an agreement with the local authorities of Bergen op Zoom for the purchase of land on the outskirts of Bergen op Zoom. The new Markiezaat Container Terminal will be built at this strategic location, directly on the Scheldt-Rhine canal between the seaports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. Bob Van Steenweghen, Corporate Affairs Manager, explains.

At the end of 2020, H.Essers announced the acquisition of the Meeus Group’s chemical cluster, a major transport and warehousing player in the Netherlands. ‘Today, we are capitalising on our presence in the Netherlands,’ says Bob Van Steenweghen. ‘The relocation of the existing container terminal to a larger, better suited location on the outskirts is a solution for the noise pollution suffered by local residents and the limitations of the narrow lock passage. And above all, it offers perfect inland shipping access to the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. This will give our synchromodal network a strong boost and add an important hub to our European routes.’

Faster and more flexible

Construction of the container terminal will start in 2023 and should be operational in 2024. ‘Not just we but also many of our customers are looking forward to this. This site opens up opportunities for faster and more flexible responses, which also benefits our ecological footprint.’ The new terminal in Bergen op Zoom will be much quicker to reach by water and will be further away from residential areas, thus reducing the risk of nuisance. The terminal should be able to handle about 140,000 TEU per year – twice the volume of the current location. In 10 years’ time, this could even be 250,000 TEU. In addition, a total of 220,000 m² of warehousing space will be built within the dyked area.

It also meets the demand of major seaports for more consolidated inland navigation. ‘The new location is ideally situated along the busy Scheldt-Rhine canal. In this way, Bergen op Zoom will more than ever become a crucial logistical hub between Antwerp and Rotterdam. This position is comparable to the Port of Limburg, the inland shipping terminal we are currently developing in our home town of Genk. The major European ports can also more easily be reached from there. With the arrival of the new Markiezaat Container Terminal, we will soon have multimodal corridors from Genk to Antwerp and from Antwerp to Rotterdam.’

Multimodal use

The investments in this new site fit perfectly within H.Essers’ long-term strategic plan to further expand its synchromodal solutions. Synchromodality refers to an optimal use of the different transport modes. Bob: ‘For several years, H.Essers has been investing in concepts, networks and systems that allow us to organise synchromodal transports, as well as in an adapted fleet. Today, more than 50% of our towed fleet is already multimodal. But we go even a step further, and also invest in infrastructure, with our own rail and barge terminals. The expansion potential of our warehouses, the new terminal and the strategic location between Rotterdam and Antwerp make Bergen Op Zoom an important logistics location.’

Expansion in the Netherlands

This interest in the Netherlands is demonstrated by our company’s various investments on Dutch soil, such as the very recent acquisition of Verheul to strengthen our infrastructure segment, and the current integration of the acquired part of Meeus Group. ‘The acquisition of Meeus Group’s chemical logistics and moving business was an important milestone in our multi-year growth strategy and the largest in our company history,’ says Bob. ‘H.Essers welcomed not only 400 professionals but also a reference in Dutch multimodal chemical logistics. These expansions give us strong assets. We offer our customers a one-stop shop in which warehousing, value-added activities and multimodal transport for import and export all come together.’

Would you like more information about H.Essers’ activities in the Netherlands? Feel free to contact Bob Van Steenweghen for this purpose (bob.vansteenweghen@essers.com).