The Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands has revealed plans to establish a food hub to provide improved facilities for companies operating in the agrofood sector.

To be located at Calandkanaal at the entrance to Maasvlakte, the food hub will span across a 60ha industrial site.

The move, according to the port, is part of its plan to bolster its position as one of the major transit points for agricultural, horticultural and fishery products in western Europe.

The Netherlands is the second largest agriculture exporter in the world after the US. In 2017, it traded approximately €92bn ($103bn) worth of agrofood products.

Port of Rotterdam Authority containers, breakbulk and logistics director Emile Hoogsteden said: “We aim to further accommodate our client’s growth in agrofood.

“The port authority said that berths for inland vessels visiting the food hub will be kept available and warehouses will be located immediately adjacent to the quays.”

“The Rotterdam food hub offers excellent opportunities for this: not only are Maasvlakte’s large deep-sea container terminals just a stone’s throw away, but the Rotterdam food hub will also have access to multiple berths for sea-going vessels especially equipped for refrigerated cargo.”

Agrofood products are quickly perishable and speed is crucial when dealing with this type of cargo.

To support this requirement, the port authority said that berths for inland vessels visiting the food hub will be kept available and warehouses will be located immediately adjacent to the quays.

At the Rotterdam food hub, various shared facilities can be used for transport, storage, access control and customs, which can be shared by various stakeholders.

The food hub is expected to be become operational by the end of 2020.