APM Terminals has confirmed that it is negotiating the sale of APM Terminals Rotterdam (APMT-R), the manual (straddle carrier) operation at Maasvlakte I
It is being "taken for granted" that Hutchison Ports (HPH) is the potential buyer. ECT, HPH’s European flagship and APMT-R’s contiguous neighbour, declined to comment, although a source at APMT-R referred to ECT as "a very obvious party."
The takeover talks were confirmed in staff meetings that took place following dockers’ "go slows" last week. Work returned to normal after various promises were made by APMT-R management.
These include a commitment banning compulsory dismissal for the first four years, plus adherence to the dockers’ departure arrangements made in the near port-wide container sector labour contingency deal.
Furthermore, management told staff that volume guarantees will have to be provided for the next five years, which the new owner would obviously need to secure from Maersk Line.
The terminal would remain a separate company with its own Works Council. The sale could even be concluded before Christmas, it was added.
Another management promise that led to reassurance was the purchase of 16 new straddle carriers, possibly even this year. Keeping APMT-R a conventional, straddle carrier-direct terminal will save around 200 of the terminal’s 600 jobs.
APMT-R is the only container terminal on the Maasvlaktes not operating AGVs and ASCs. A part of AMPT-R’s fleet of around 50 straddle carriers is up for replacement by 2021.
The apron and most of the 13 STS cranes are not considered to be fit for 20,000-plus TEU container ships, but it is not clear why HPH/ECT would want to handle such ships there, given ECT’s other capabilities in the port.