Economic Evaluation of Gateway Hinterland Access Concepts for the Port of Rotterdam

Economic Evaluation of Gateway Hinterland Access Concepts for the Port of Rotterdam


B W Wiegmans, Delft University of Technology, NL



This paper analyzed through economic evaluation methods the different hinterland access concepts for the port of Rotterdam. In transport research, often transport modeling is the focus and the economic consequences of certain transport projects are to a lesser extent dealt with in scientific research. However, the financial consequences are very important for transport policy and planning. Therefore, three financial engineering methods: the benefit-cost, the present value and the annual worth are used to analyze for four hinterland access concepts for the port of Rotterdam. The central research question analyzed is the following: Which hinterland transport concepts are the most promising taken from the economic point of view? From the economic point of view (present worth and annual worth) it makes sense to invest in inland waterway terminal infrastructure for improved gateway hinterland access. Next, road infrastructure investments are preferred followed by rail and pipeline. If the B/C ratio is taken as point of view, the pipeline should be the favored investment, followed by barge, rail and road. The investments in road transport are relatively limited as compared to the other concepts, but the resistance against further investments in road transport is growing as expansion possibilities are limited and the environmental pressure is mounting. Rail hinterland access investments are not very promising from an economic point of view. Invested amounts are high and thus the present and annual worth. Furthermore, direct monetary benefits (user charges) are limited and thus is the B/C ratio low. Furthermore, the rail infrastructure to and from Rotterdam is quite well developed with the Betuweline. The concept of inland waterway hinterland access concentrates on the development of the barge transshipment terminal. This means that at first sight the amounts to be invested appear to be not too high. What the financial figures do not show is the considerable congestion in the port of Rotterdam leading to low reliability and high (hidden) costs.

The B/C ratio of inland waterway hinterland access is relatively high as compared to the other concepts. The investment amount in pipeline hinterland access is large. This means that a pipeline will only be developed if spatial pressure and sustainability pressure will be sufficient. Furthermore, the actual distance of the pipeline under the ground should be as short as possible in order to reduce the cost and the connection with the successive mode should be excellent. Although the pipeline is relatively the most expensive concept as compared to the traditional transport modes, it also carries the largest improvements in congestion, noise, exhaust of CO2 and fine dust. Furthermore, it reduces the spatial pressure in harbor areas and it offers the opportunity to transport companies to save on labor costs as their drivers are no longer required to spent valuable time in congested port areas.

The moment for planning and practice officials is near for a first try with a pipeline system to transport containers to and from the hinterland of congested port areas. The B/C ratio of pipeline hinterland access looks quite promising. But, the investments in the pipeline for underground container transport will be higher because transshipment and the underground transport system have not been included. However, the concept of the underground pipeline offers the most potential for value capturing and extra sales (user charges). The challenge to policy makers is now to control the cost and to build on the advantages of a pipeline system as sketched in this article.


Association for European Transport