The research presented in this work explores the importance of containerization to the economic links within the Lower Rhine region, which is a transnational economic region consisting of the Rotterdam and Ruhr areas and some other parts of North Rhine Westphalia. The economic integration between these two areas has a long tradition, as they are connected by the Rhine. In the first half of the 19th century, the emergence of the railways gave a boost to German industry and created a demand for coal, iron and steel. In the second half of the century, these goods were mostly supplied by rail. However, from the 1890s onwards, barge transport made a come-back and became the dominant transport mode. The Ruhr area used Rotterdam to supply its industry with coal, iron ore, mine wood and foodstuffs.1 This relationship then continued, mainly consisting of bulk transport, and the competition between the rail and barge sectors kept prices low. In the 1920s, a new competing modality, road haulage, emerged, and started to be used for cross-border transport after World War II.2 In the post-war period, due to the energy transition from coal to oil, petrochemical products were added to the range of goods transported between Rotterdam and the Ruhr area.3 In 1966, maritime containers were introduced to the Port of Rotterdam. The question thus arises: what effect did this new kind of transport have on economic relationships within the Lower Rhine region? Meanwhile, the research question is: how did containerization affect economic integration within the Lower Rhine region and what role did the liberalization of the European transport sector in the 1990s play in this? The answer to this question is based on an analysis of the hinterland of Rotterdam.

Additional Metadata
Keywords geschiedenis container transport, multimodaal transport, Duits-Nederlands transport beleid, hinterland transport
Promotor H.A.M. Klemann (Hein)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam
Persistent URL
Paardenkooper-Suli, K.M. (2014, June 13). The Port of Rotterdam and the maritime container: The rise and fall of Rotterdam’s hinterland (1966-2010). Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from