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Published: 29 August 2012      

Curtain comes down on ACT Amsterdam

ECT has confirmed that it will wind up its Amsterdam Container Terminals (ACT) affiliate

ECT's CEO Jan Westerhoud has informed the remaining 32 staff at Amsterdam Container Terminals (ACT) that the operation will be wound up. ACT (formerly Ceres Paragon) has continued to struggle since it was acquired by ECT from NYK, which had acquired it from US-based Ceres Terminals) and ECT's pragmatic position is that there is simply too little demand for a terminal of this size in Amsterdam.

The 54-ha, 1.2 M TEU/year capacity deepsea container terminal in Amsterdam's Amerika Hafen never handled more than 300,000 TEU in any year. Established as Ceres Paragon Amsterdam 11 years ago, the terminal was reduced to the status of an "extended gate" for ECT in Rotterdam in 2010 when 70 of the 105 (then) staff were dismissed, handling mainly barge traffic.

Compulsory redundancies will be subject to the severance scheme that the union (FNV Bondgenoten) and ECT concluded in late 2010 during the first retrenchment round. At that time, ECT stated that it wanted ACT "to operate as a small, mature deepsea container terminal" and subsequently it stated that ACT would be kept alive until the arrival of a new super post-panamax lock at IJmuiden, due by 2020.

As previously reported, ECT has already sold four of ACT’s nine ZPMC STS cranes (the cranes on the "far" side of the indented dock) to Spanish interests - three for the Canary Islands and one for a port in Northern Spain. They were due for shipment this month, but will probably be shipped in September. Of the fleet of 38 Nelcon-built straddle carriers, at least 20 are said to have been moved already, including to ECT’s Home Terminal in Rotterdam.

The CEO of the Port of Amsterdam, Dertje Meijer, stated that she was disappointed about the closure, but accepted the "current appears that it is not viable to operate such a terminal right now. She added that the port authority will explore other options for the site.

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