Steinweg aims for efficiency and innovation: the development of Pier 6

Those who closely follow Steinweg are undoubtedly aware of the development of Pier 6. This terminal, located in the heart of the Waalhaven area, is being fully future-proofed. Operational Director of Steinweg (NL) Milko Oldenburg and Project Manager, Lara in ’t Veld enthusiastically share their insights into the creation of this location.

Project Manager Lara in ‘t Veld & Operational Director Milko Oldenburg

A strategic opportunity for centralization

The year 2021 marked the beginning of the development of Waalhaven Pier 6. Together with the adjacent piers 5 and 7, this new location is an impressive terminal spanning 46 hectares, that is designed for advanced handling and storage far into the future. Milko underscores the strategy behind this development. “The development of Pier 6 stemmed from the need for a central location that perfectly aligns with Steinweg’s broad logistical service offering. We seized the opportunity to bid farewell to multiple smaller terminals with limited logistical value and invest in one large terminal that serves as a powerful hub. The location of Pier 6 is unique due to its central position in the Waal- and Eemhaven area, direct water access, rail connection, and proximity to the A15. This is not only logistically efficient but also attractive for employment, in the heart of Rotterdam with the skyline as a backdrop.”

After the decision was made at the executive level, operational teams and technicians quickly came together at the drawing board to sketch out their vision for the future layout. A project team was formed, with Project Manager Lara in ’t Veld as the focal point.

An efficient logistical hub for the future

Efficiency is paramount in the development of Pier 6. Milko emphasizes the thoughtful design of the terminal, aimed at optimizing logistical workflows. “We have carefully designed every aspect of the terminal to maximize efficiency. For example, think of strategically placed loading and unloading zones, optimized storage space, and infrastructure. Through smart planning and investments in advanced technologies, Pier 6 has an impressive capacity for rapidly processing goods, allowing customers to benefit from smooth throughput and fast deliveries.”

Lara explains how future needs have been considered, such as dividing the warehouses into compartments for the storage of merchandise goods. “These are massive warehouses, over 40 meters wide. One warehouse is 252 meters long and the other 408 meters. That’s why we carefully considered the layout of the warehouses and the creation of flexibility for the future. The terminal is not only intended for aluminum and other metals but also for project cargo, such as offshore platforms for wind turbines.”

Sustainability: a green future anchored in the terminal

Sustainability forms the backbone of Pier 6, with a focus on reducing the ecological footprint and taking on ‘green’ assignments. Milko explains: “We have invested in electric vehicles and cranes to reduce emissions as much as possible. Solar panels are also being installed on the roofs for the generation of green electricity.” Lara adds that sustainability goes beyond just CO2 reduction. “It also includes ensuring that the investments we make, both financially and operationally, retain their value in the long term. In addition to considering solar panels on the roof, we focus on sustainable business processes and models. It’s not just about what’s on the terminal, but also about how the company operates and evolves that matters.”

Pier 6 from up above
Terminal Pier 6

A model for the future

Lara emphasizes that Pier 6 is more than just a location, but a blueprint for other Steinweg locations. “We strive for uniformity. Our goal is to create a model that is not only specific to this terminal but can also be applied elsewhere, such as in the Botlek and Beatrixhaven. I’m talking about the physical aspects of the terminal, but also about the business processes and systems we test and implement. We want our way of working and our sustainable approach to serve as an example for other locations in the future.”

Conclusion: the entrance where everything comes together

At this moment, Lara is mainly busy with the layout of the entrance to the terminal. A challenge, on multiple fronts. “The new entrance and the new office are indeed two major challenges we are currently focusing on, which brings exciting moments because the terminal is operational, and we want to avoid disrupting work processes as much as possible. Various systems must seamlessly collaborate to ensure optimal efficiency in the handling process. We have carefully planned all of this at the drawing board. Now is the time to execute it and bring everything together. An essential phase where close collaboration between different departments is crucial.”

The influence of a driven project team

Behind the development of Pier 6 lies a professional and driven project team that plays a key role in realizing this ambitious terminal, as emphasized by Milko: “For the project team, the development of Pier 6 offered an opportunity to create an impressive logistical hub, but at the same time, it’s also a platform for personal and professional development. The project team was encouraged to think outside the box, propose new ideas, and further develop their skills. This opportunity for growth and self-improvement has left an unmistakable mark on the passion and enthusiasm palpable in the end result.”

Impact on employment and community

Pier 6 not only concerns the logistics sector but also has an impact on the local community in Rotterdam. The central location contributes to additional employment, and in the development process, Steinweg has closely collaborated with the surroundings. For example, with the residents’ committee of Heijplaat, to minimize the impact on the environment. The success of Pier 6 is actively shared with the community, with regular tours organized for clients, residents, and students. When Lara guides the groups, she repeatedly experiences a sense of pride and wonder at the impressive work being done daily basis. “It’s truly remarkable to see people’s reactions when they understand the scale and complexity of our work. When I walk around Pier 6 in the sun and see the Rotterdam skyline, I think: we’ve really pulled this off together…”

Published on: 27 February 2024