The Rotterdam-Antwerp Corridor; borderless cooperation
During the Rotterdam-Antwerp Corridor conference, approx. 1000 administrators from The Netherlands and Flanders discussed improvement of their competitive power by means of cooperation.
“From China's point of view, the Rotterdam, Zeeland and Flanders ports are the no. 1 access ports to Western-Europe”, said Jaap Smit, King's Commissioner in Zuid-Holland. He said this at the Rotterdam-Antwerp Corridor conference, during the prelude to the MIRT-research of the same name.
A different horizon
The aim of the MIRT-research is to gain a clear understanding of how the ports and their entire environment can remain globally competitive. MIRT-researches precede the allocation of financing for the infrastructure. The main issue is a change in the horizon. “The ports are doing well”, according to Floor Vermeulen, Regional Transport Minister Zuid-Holland. But to continue being that access point requires more cooperation. “Right now, each of the ports views the hinterland from its own position. If this were to be more of a joint effort, and from the perspective of receiver Germany and suppliers China and America, there is still so much more to be achieved.” Harry van der Maas, Regional Minister Zeeland, mentioned the Seine-Scheldt connection further south, to indicate that the scope is not limited to these two harbours. An analysis of the entire region, based on which the MIRT-research will be carried out, was presented in an i-report (areal photograph).
The analysis also showed that accessibility is crucial. Besides the bottlenecks, the report also mentions the opportunities. Such as a better use of the Pipeline Network, better coordination of the inland transport and better linking of the transport modalities. Vermeulen stresses that this Corridor challenge comprises much more than just transport. The research focuses on spatial-economic aspects, such as external security, residential development, quality of the living environment and energy transition. Harry van der Maas joined in as follows: “To work on the economy, is to work on your environment. Take the Paris agreements on CO2-reduction. They link directly to transport, which has to become more sustainable. And it can, if only we work together.”
During the conference, a start was made on the draft of a joint implementation agenda.
The research is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2018. The Rotterdam-Antwerp Corridor will be the theme of the Flemish-Dutch Delta Congress.