Traditionally, Rotterdam has had a strong connection with breakbulk. According to the port of Rotterdam, in 2019 6.6 million tonnes were shipped via Rotterdam, and breakbulk is still one of the important pillars for the seaport.

Twan Romeijn, Business Manager Breakbulk and Offshore Industry at Port of Rotterdam, says “From and to the hinterland, steel, forest products, non-ferrous metals and HLPC – Heavy Lift and Project Cargo – are increasingly finding their way to Rotterdam.”

One of those success stories is that of the 150-tonne crystallizer that recently left the seaport on its way to the Middle East. “A unique project that proves that there are no limits in Rotterdam.”

The crystallizer was assembled on behalf of GBT from the German town of Marl at Broekman Logistics’ Heavy Lift Centre on the Heijplaat in Rotterdam.

A total of 12 components for the crystallizer were delivered via barge and road transport. The assembly took three months, after which the colossus was transported by Mammoet to the adjacent quay using a 14 axle Schreurle K25 self-propelled conventional trailer. There it was lifted onto a vessel of shipping company SAL Heavy Lift to continue its journey to the end customer in Jordan.

According to Romeijn, the extensive network of supply chain players offers absolute added value. “Characteristic for the breakbulk segment is the large number of supply chain players needed to complete a project. Rotterdam has an excellent cluster, in which skills and knowledge are distinctive. That know-how and craftsmanship are crucial; after all, it often involves high-quality products,” explains the Business Manager.

In addition, the hinterland connections, by road as well as by inland shipping and rail, are optimal and Port of Rotterdam continuously invests in new technologies, such as digitalisation to make the supply chain more transparent and efficient. Or in solutions that make the chain more sustainable.

“Our ambition is to become the largest and most important breakbulk port in Europe,’ says Twan Romeijn. ‘We distinguish ourselves from other seaports with our no-nonsense mentality. A deal really is a deal in Rotterdam, and we are prepared to always think that one step further. ‘Bigger Better Breakbulk’ is what we call it.

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