Port of the month

Port of the Month: Groningen Seaports (The Netherlands)

30 November 2016

This month, we are taking you to Groningen Seaports in the Netherlands. Besides managing two seaports, it comprises also two inland ports. Let’s have a closer look!

ESPO: Can you briefly tell us about Groningen Seaports? What are its main characteristics and challenges?

Groningen: As the economic operator and authority of the seaports of Delfzijl and Eemshaven, Groningen Seaports is working on your new place of establishment. We will be pleased to roll out the red carpet for you and help you to find the best possible location for your company. We won't be satisfied until you are. You can buy or lease plots of land - large or small - but it is of course also possible to rent existing premises or make use of the current facilities.

With more than 700 hectares of land available, there is certainly plenty of space for you to get down to business. Both seaports have good rail, road and water connections, which provide very easy access to your location. You will of course be able to use the seaport facilities such as wharves, a roro bridge and the dockyard cranes. We will also be pleased to put you in contact with the service providers you need for your business.

If you operate in the offshore wind business or the data centre sector, then Eemshaven is the best option for you. Delfzijl is the right location for the chemical industry or circular economic activities. Curious about what Eemshaven or the Port of Delfzijl have to offer you? Are you looking for a place to establish your company? Or considering a relocation? Would you like to make use of a jetty or a wharf? If so, be sure to contact us and let us know your requirements. We'll be pleased to help you explore the options.

ESPO: Groningen Seaports profiles itself as a genuine energy port. The European energy landscape is set to change in view of the measures taken towards preventing climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels. Is Groningen Seaports developing a strategy to respond to the new challenges in the field of energy, such as an alternative energy mix, energy efficiency or energy independence?

Groningen: By 2030, the Eemsdelta will be the most important green seaport and industrial region of the northern Netherlands. The energy and data sector in the Eemshaven is of international significance. The chemicals and recycling industry in Delfzijl is fully bio-based. Thanks to the strong connection between the energy and dataport Eemshaven and the bio-based chemicals and recycling cluster in Delfzijl, a single efficient and competitive green seaport complex has been formed. Government bodies, the corporate sector, knowledge institutes and social organisations all work closely together, which enables the corporate sector and knowledge institutes to adequately meet the demand for know-how, technology and manpower. Together with the excellent accessibility, quality of the living environment and location at the Wadden Sea world heritage site, this makes the Eemsdelta an extremely attractive spot for (new) companies and (new) inhabitants alike.

The port vision is relevant to the positioning of the port authority. In the light of this vision, the term ‘green’ means sustainable. Groningen Seaports sets out its economic ambitions and indicates how it proposes to achieve them in a sustainable manner. Groningen Seaports has the sincere ambition to develop a Green Port Vision as closely as possible in harmony with the surroundings. The vision will be formulated in consultation with experts on the one hand and businesses, public authorities and lobby organisations will be involved on the other. The ultimate Port Vision will have to be able to count on broad support. An implementation agenda will be linked to the port vision. The activities and measures in this implementation agenda will contribute to the sustainable development of the port sites from an economic, social and ecological perspective.

(c) Koos Boertjens 

ESPO: Groningen Seaports also comprises two inland ports: Farmsumerhaven and Oosterhornhaven. Could you briefly explain how these two inland ports are linked to the Groningen Seaports? And can you also describe how the ports are connected to the hinterland?

Groningen: One of the strong points of Groningen Seaports is its excellent accessibility, by sea, road, rail and inland shipping. The ports have a very favourable strategic location within north-west Europe in particular. The accessibility of the ports is ideal, with a substantial depth and hardly any waiting times. The Port of Delfzijl is accessible to ships with a draft of 9 metres. Eemshaven has a depth of 11 metres, but is expected to be accessible to ships with a draft of 14 metres in the future. The principal goods streams are minerals (salt, limestone, sand), chemical products (base chemicals), oil products (biofuels, bitumen) and food products (cattle feed, fish, sugar, barley, malt).

The Port of Delfzijl and its commercial sites are optimally accessible to inland shipping. Most of the commercial sites in Delfzijl are located around the inland port Oosterhornhaven, which leads to Eemskanaal, giving the Port of Delfzijl a direct connection to the Delfzijl-Groningen-Lemmer route and the rest of the inland shipping network. Besides Oosterhornhaven, Groningen Seaports has a second inland port, Farmusmerhaven, which is another important link in the main shipping route Lemmer-Delfzijl. This main shipping route has been given a major upgrade. The two inland ports form a vital element of the overall logistics complex and guarantee that the hinterland is easily accessible to inland shipping. Eemshaven is also accessible to inland vessels via the Port of Delfzijl and the Eems.

The seaports are easily accessible by road since freight traffic can travel unhindered via the N33 from Assen to Eemshaven, and the completion of the A31 in Germany provides an excellent connection to the Ruhr from Groningen’s seaports. Compared to Rotterdam, for example, the distance from and to the Ruhr is approximately the same, but as there is no congestion, the distance from and to Delfzijl or Eemshaven can usually be covered more quickly.  The distance of the commercial sites of Groningen Seaports and the motorway Nieuweschans-Amsterdam (A7) is about 20 kilometres and the access roads are free of congestion. Eemshaven also has a direct connection to the city of Groningen and the rest of the road network via the N46.

ESPO: The circular economy plays an important role in the economic development of Groningen Seaports. Could you tell us more about this business in your port? How do you assess the future potential of this business?

Groningen: The circular economy plays an important role in the economic development of Groningen’s seaports. Groningen Seaports contributes to the development of an efficient and innovative recycling cluster for the region. Through the recycling - useful application - and processing of everything released in a factory production process or that is unusable by society, the cluster upgrades all of these substances into raw materials, energy and new products. This is based on the cradle-to-cradle concept, but involves more companies. Sustainable economic growth is the best starting point for the long term. Sustainability is a precondition for creating added value and job opportunities in the region. That sustainability translates into care and respect for people and the living environment, investing in knowledge and innovation and into cooperation with economic core areas and logistics hubs. Groningen Seaports acts in that context as an initiator, facilitator and stimulator, based on the conviction that green economic growth is sustainable economic growth that benefits the region as a whole. Government bodies, the corporate sector, knowledge institutes and social organisations all work closely together, which enables the corporate sector and knowledge institutes to adequately meet the demand for know-how, technology and manpower. Together with the excellent accessibility, quality of the living environment and the available space, this makes the Eemsdelta an extremely attractive spot for (recycling) companies.

ESPO: Groningen Seaports is part of the “Noordelijke Haven Alliantie”, which bundles a number of Wadden Sea ports to achieve sustainable port development. Could you tell us more about this cooperation? Is Groningen Seaports also cooperating with other ports?

Groningen: Groningen Seaports works closely together on a regional level with the Seaports of Den Helder, Harlingen and Lauwersoog. All these ports are located on the natural reserve Wadden Sea. Furthermore, we work closely together with the ports of Zeeland, Moerdijk, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, mainly on national and international policy issues. And of course we have tight connections with our German next-door neighbour, Port of Emden, which is part of Niedersachsen Ports.

ESPO: Could you describe the added value of Groningen Seaports to the city and the wider region?

Groningen: We have an added value in an economic way. A lot of people depend on Groningen Seaports on an economic level: the workers, different factories in our ports, even hotels, bakeries etc. But Groningen Seaports also creates added value on a social level. For example, it is sponsoring different social and cultural events.

(c) Koos Boertjens 

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