In his New Year's speech, executive director of the Amsterdam Port Authority
, Hans Gerson announced that 2001 had proven another record year. Amsterdam Ports, comprising the ports of Amsterdam, Zaanstad, Beverwijk and IJmuiden, achieved a substantial increase of 5 percent to over 67 million tons. This makes Amsterdam Ports among the fastest growing ports in Western Europe. Transhipments in the Port of Amsterdam alone increased by almost 10 percent. Numbers of vessels rose by 2.5 percent to 9,360, underscoring the ongoing increase in scale of shipping to Amsterdam. Some 108 cruise ships visited the port, against 100 in the previous year.
Of the 67 million tons, coal represented 18.5 million tons, a 5.8 percent growth. Oil increased by a significant 15.1 percent to 13 million tons. The port also strengthened its position in the transhipment of derivatives and cattle feed. A 9.4 percent growth was realized here to 8.7 million tons. Steel, however, showed a 4.8 percent drop to 8.8 million tons. General cargo decreased by 3.2 percent to 6.6 million tons.
Employment in the Amsterdam Port area continued to show favorable development. The most recent study of the National Port Commission revealed that employment had risen from 37,800 to 38,200 over the period 1999-2000. The leasing of industrial sites in the port area went off especially well in 2001. In total 72 acres were leased, a level well above average. Some 43 acres were allocated for a Hitachi assembly plant for heavy earthmoving machinery and a training center. Ten acres were added to the new Ceres container terminal for the construction of a fully automated access area. Sites were also leased to various companies among others in the sand and gravel trade and for multi-tenant business premises.
Over the past year the Port Authority made investments of $68 million in the port. $40 million was invested in the container terminal, $8 million in the new Afrikahaven and $l0 million went into restructuring the existing port area. The Port Authority also showed impressive operating profits. Over 2001, $20 million was credited to Amsterdam city's
Although the downturn in the economy had an impact on the transshipment figures in the last two months of 2001, Director Hans Gerson remains optimistic about developments for 2002. He expects further growth in sectors in which Amsterdam is traditionally strong: oil products and coal. He also expects container transhipment at the new Ceres Paragon terminal to succeed in spite of the current slowdown in this sector. According to Gerson, the terminal clearly has potential: it is more efficient due to the possibility of loading and unloading on two sides of the vessel, as well as offering an outstanding location and competitive prices. Amsterdam will further increase its competitive position this year through substantial investments in ICT infrastructure. In addition to an Internet-based port management system, 2002 will see start of work on the construction of a land radar system with financial support from the national government.
Finally, in 2002 preparations will start for the port's most vital project for the future; the construction of a second large lock at
IJmuiden. In close consultation with the Department of Public Works of North Holland, the Port Authority will
draw up a broad program of work so that contracting can begin end-2002. Amsterdam expects the national government to make the final decision on the construction and financing of the new lock in 2002. Hans Gerson refers
to the most recent report by
the National Port Commission's financing working group, which clearly emphasizes the role and responsibility of the government for large-scale port infrastructure.