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Port of Amsterdam sees trend in bulk containers.

Port of Amsterdam sees trend in bulk containers

Amsterdam has its origins as a spice port. Tropical produce has always been a specialty. Today, it is the world's largest cocoa port, and other commodities remain important. Coffee is one of them, according to the Port of Amsterdam's journal.

Coffee shipments are on the increase. Holland's largest coffee producer, Sara Lee/DE, moves an annual 1,000 20-foot containers from Buenaventura Colombia, to its Dutch coffee roasting operations via Amsterdam. The Sara Lee/DE coffee company (the DE part of the name, Douwe Egberts, dates back 1753) account for about 70 percent of the Dutch and Belgian markets, and have substantial shares in other European countries. Colombia accounts for about 30 percent of DE's annual purchases. Half of the export must be carried on Colombian vessels, but much of the rest to Europe is moved aboard vessels of the Eurosal service, whose partners include Dutch-based Nedlloyd Lines. Eurosal links the Pacific Coast of South America with Northern Europe, with Amsterdam as a main port-of-call.

Most coffee is shipped in 70-kilo bags which are loaded into semi-ventilated containers. But, according to Sietze Beenen, DE's manager logistics international, a recent trend for West Coast Colombian coffee is to transport beans as bulk in containers lined with plastic. Trial shipments are investigated at this moment. Twenty-foot containers are used for all coffee shipments because of the heavy weight of the beans. Each box weighs in at about 20 tons. "Containers have changed things. Coffee exported from Colombia's Caribbean Coast is partly still moved as conventional cargo, but the Eurosal container service has made transport easier and cheaper," said Beenen.

"But as far as shipping goes, a reliable, frequent and fast service, and not in the first place freight rates, are most important. Unlike other tropical commodities, coffee moves in a continual stream. This enables us to work to a fixed schedule, thus reducing our costs. Therefore, the shipping services we use must be optimal," Beenen said.
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Title Annotation:coffee traffic on the rise
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:May 1, 1990
Words:332
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