An adequate answer to Maasvlakte 2

The State Inspectorate Terminal allows Customs to handle cargo more quickly and more cleverly in the Rotterdam port area.

The State Inspectorate Terminal (Rijksinspectieterminal, RIT), which should deal with the growing cargo volumes at Maasvlakte 2, will be erected at Bosporusstraat in Rotterdam soon. The new complex will enable Customs to handle goods even more quickly and cleverly, using state-of-the-art methods. Chris van Holland, RIT programme manager, lifts a tip of the veil.  

The idea for the RIT was formed in 2011, in response to the construction of Maasvlakte 2. The optimistic view at the time was that there would be a serious increase in the supply of goods in Rotterdam and the government would therefore need more control capacity. This view had to be adjusted due to, among other things, the crisis, but the current assumption is still a growth scenario of 2 to 2.5 percent per year. Now – after a design phase of nearly 18 months and a tendering procedure of several months under the management of the Central Government Real Estate Agency – the waiting is almost over. “Out of the initial fifteen candidates, five candidates who meet our criteria have remained after an initial selection”, Van Holland says. “At the end of March, we will choose the builder, who will start the work soon afterwards.”

Beautiful industrial design

The existing building complex will be redeveloped and expanded. The floor area of the current inspection warehouse will be expanded to over 2,300 square metres. A new aspect will be a platform with a gangway, especially for tank-containers, which can be inspected from above. The much larger parking area will have dedicated parking spaces and a connection for freezer containers. The number of loading and unloading areas will be increased from six to ten, two of which are reserved for the inspection of hazardous substances, and one for perishable goods. There will also be a refrigerated area for veterinary inspections by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. Van Holland: “Just as with the Joint Inspection Centre at Schiphol Airport, the basic principle will be integrated control. Together with our enforcement partners – the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority – we will use the one-stop-shop principle here as well, which ensures the handling of several inspections at one central location at the same time.”

Of course, physical inspections should be continued during the construction work of the RIT. That is why the programme will be executed in phases, 50 percent of the old warehouse will remain open and the project will not include the scanning tunnel. “There will be some nuisance for all parties, as we will have to move to alternative locations to perform certain tasks”, Van Holland says. “But this is all temporary: we will soon have a beautiful new location that is based on a beautiful industrial design.”

New training centre

The RIT also offers room to a new National Practical Training Centre for Customs. Van Holland: “This will give a much better representation of reality than the current training centre. Now our staff members who follow a training course have to work with a few containers outdoors. In addition to containers, we will soon have various means of transport and a warehouse with racks and boxes. The icing on the cake will be a cutting-edge simulation of a vessel, for which a separate contractor has been engaged – not everyone has the expertise to build this. There will be a replicated cabin, a loading space and a life-size flight of stairs. A smoke machine and audiovisual effects will ensure that the simulation is as close to reality as possible.”

The detection dogs of Customs will receive much better training as well. “The current outdoor facility where they receive behavioural and obedience training is outdated. We will soon have a nice and smooth lane with artificial grass, which meets all modern requirements. There will also be indoor facilities to train detection dogs under optimal and controlled conditions.”

Exciting

Van Holland emphasises that the development of the RIT mainly focussed on the business sector. “In order to give better logistical support, we will adjust the driving direction, for example. Anyone arriving for a scheduled inspection can go directly to the designated space. If, for example, you have an appointment for an inspection on Thursday morning at 10.00 am at door 1, you can rely on Customs or one of its fellow enforcement partners to be ready for you there, after which you can continue on your way. If we find anything in the cargo, it will, of course, take longer, but normally we complete an inspection within the agreed time. In turn, this will allow carriers to make more efficient schedules and keep their promises to their clients better. All this will, however, require a clever system that links selection, access and planning together. This system is not ready yet, but is in full swing.”

As scheduled, the RIT must be operational at the end of 2017. Will this be possible? Van Holland: “It will undoubtedly be a close call. However, the result will be a spacious and modern complex which will be able to handle a larger flow of goods. And both Customs and the business sector in the Port of Rotterdam will benefit from this.”

Share this post