Port of Rotterdam launches new Navigate routeplanner

The Port of Rotterdam’s new online routeplanner, Navigate, will enable freight forwarders to access information on rail services between The Netherlands and more than 150 inland European terminals. It is the latest part of the port authority’s strategic objectives to utilise digital technologies for improving its competitive position.

By mapping out all connections via the port, the aim is to make it as easy as possible to organise the onward logistics chain. The beta version of the application also contains deep-sea and short-sea schedules connecting to 550 ports worldwide.


Emile Hoogsteden, Director of Containers, Breakbulk and Logistics, said: “This makes Navigate the most comprehensive route planner of its kind, enabling users to find an efficient route from A to B via Rotterdam in just a few mouse clicks. Navigate has been developed especially for companies seeking smarter ways to plan their container transports.”

Based on the chosen point of departure and the desired destination, Navigate offers various options and for each route an overview of the available connections to the hinterland destination by rail. Customers select their preferred option, based on modality and expected transit time. They can also get in touch with the freight operators to request a quote.

Business directory

“But Navigate offers more”, added Hoogsteden. “For example, it also contains a business directory of more than 1,500 companies operating in and around the Port of Rotterdam. The central access window makes it easy for users to search, compare and contact those companies – from shippers to cold stores.”

Navigate also has an ’empty depot tool’, displaying inland terminals where shippers’ empty containers can be collected or dropped off. This reduces unnecessary and costly transport of empty containers. With its multiple functionalities Navigate brings more transparency to the supply chain. It will also soon feature real-time data on the ETAs of sea-going vessels.

Supply chain

“This beta version is a good first step – we hope that market parties will also be excited about it and give us feedback that we can use to further improve this tool,” added Hoogsteden. “Our ambition is to keep adding more operational data, so that Navigate will become an increasingly valuable tool to improve efficiency in the supply chain.”

The port authority meanwhile has bought the independent RailShuttle Rotterdam BV, which connects the port’s container terminals, thus securing what had been an uncertain future for the business. Launched in 2015, PortShuttle operates five times a week along the Rail Service Center Rotterdam (RSC) and all deep-sea terminals.


Here containers can be loaded and unloaded, allowing an efficient exchange of containers between terminals. As a result, the PortShuttle lowers the costs for the exchange of containers up to 20 per cent, while at the same time offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative for the transport of containers by road.

Operations will remain largely unchanged, with the PortShuttle service package also including the so-called ‘PortShuttle 2’. This is a collaboration with the Gebr. Versteijnen Transport & Logistics (GVT) Group of Logistics, which runs six times a week between GVT’s Railport Brabant in Tilburg and the terminals on the Maasvlakte.

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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