Ports & Logistics

The Gateway to Prosperity

With a value added of 55 billion euros per year and 813.000 employees, the logistics sector is a strong driver of the open and export-driven Dutch economy. The major cargo ports Port of Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam are less than one hour distance from one another. The excellent rail, road and water connections make the Netherlands a logistics hub and the number one gateway to transport goods to the rest of Europe. Chile has similar dynamics with an open and export-driven economy with two main ports, San Antonio and Valparaiso, and the airport of the capital Santiago at only 1,5 hours distance from one another, with a hinterland representing 62% of Chile’s population and 58% of Chile’s GDP.


Given the importance of the ports and logistics sector for the economic growth and development of both countries, continuous focus on efficiency and quality of infrastructure are key. In the 2018 World Bank Logistics Performance Index the Netherlands is ranked 6th on the worldwide ranking. It ranks at the top when it comes to efficiency of its customs procedures, the quality of its transport and IT infrastructure, the affordability of its shipping and the level of professionalism of the logistics industry. Chile is ranked 34st on the worldwide ranking, thereby leading the Latin American region. According to DHL Global Connectedness Index 2018, the Netherlands is world number one most connected country and Chile has been ranked as the most connected country in all of South & Central America and the Caribbean.

Trends and challenges

As the transportation of goods around the world continues to increase, so does the need for logistic efficiency. Digitalisation plays an important role here, and while still underdeveloped in the Chilean ports & logistics industry, pushed by global trends and the pandemic this gap is expected to become smaller. The Netherlands works to continuously innovate the sector through automated and optimal supply chain solutions, amongst others by a state-of-the art Port Community System Portbase. The Netherlands has also structurally invested in education and training in the ports and logistics sector. In the context of global climate change awareness there is an increased focus on Sustainability. Port of Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport all actively contribute to the Dutch Climate Agreement. Port of Rotterdam by striving to play a leading role in the global energy transition, looking amongst other options at renewable energy, biomass and green hydrogen, and Port of Amsterdam with a strong focus on Circular Economy. Also, Schiphol airport has taken a circular thinking approach with the ambition to be the world’s most sustainable airport. Here Vanderlande, also active in baggage handling at the Santiago airport, designed a cradle-to-cradle baggage conveyor belt that also uses 60% less energy. Both in Chile and in the Netherlands the port-city relationship has proven to be a key element in the sustainable development, where the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are examples of a joint approach and shared vision, resulting from an inclusive stakeholder approach and continuous dialogue.

Looking at the hinterland connections and more general logistics global trends move towards multi-modal transport and last-mile solutions, and also the transition towards electro-mobility and even hydrogen-based transportation. The Netherlands is a front-runner in looking at integral and multi-modal supply chain models and is making important progress in electro-mobility and hydrogen-based transportation, piloting with trains, converted trucks and in-land vessels. In Chile there are pilots with hydrogen-based trucks in the mining industry, and Chile is working on the transition of the fleet of buses in the public transport system towards electric buses.

The Dutch (Gate)way

The Dutch ports and logistics sector has reached leading positions on European and worldwide level, characterized by a high level of innovation and strong focus on sustainability. The Netherlands has become a living lab for key enabling technologies, as Dutch initiatives are often a result of co-creation the government, private sector, academic/research institutions and citizens, where each party plays a certain role:

  • Government: procurement, regulation and setting standards
  • Businesses: development of business-cases
  • Knowledge institutions: generate intellectual capital by independent research
  • Citizens: offer insights into the real need of society


This way of thinking and operating allows the Dutch partners to take an integral approach, involving all different stakeholders. This leads to innovative and top-quality solutions, including the concepts  Sustainability, Circular Economy and Energy Transition. Expertise in areas such as dredging, engineering, technology, equipment, digitalization/software, vessel-building, construction and education has been able to flourish in this favourable environment.

Dutch-Chilean cooperation

Through a bilateral agreement between the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water and the Chilean Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications there is an active knowledge exchange on sustainable Ports & Logistics development. There is also an active dialogue between different Chilean port authorities and Port of Rotterdam to share best practices on sustainable port development and port operation.

The port expansion plans in Chile, with as main projects the External Port of San Antonio and the Port of Valparaiso, together with the logistics corridor by rail and road between the ports and the capital Santiago, are important drivers for the future economic growth of the country. Sustainability, the port-city relationship, the corridor approach and increased digitalisation are key elements in both port expansions, all areas where the Dutch expertise is highly developed.

Through the bilateral agreement, and also through individual commercial contacts, there is an increasing level of cooperation between Chile and the Netherlands, creating both interesting commercial opportunities, as well as important steps towards global sustainable ports and logistics development.

Key facts & Figures:

Port of Rotterdam:

World’s 3rd and European largest port

Port of Amsterdam:

4th busiest European port in cargo tonnage

Amsterdam Schiphol airport:

4th largest airport in Europe

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