In 1996 NS Cargo decided to stop the unprofitable domestic container trains, as a result of which the container transport department of Bolk threatened to fall silent. In order to prevent this, Henk Bolk decided to maintain the connection with Rotterdam under his own steam. This led to the establishment of Combi Terminal Twente BV on 1 May 1996.
CTT started with a barge connection between Rotterdam and Almelo, to the same station location where containers for Twente had been transhipped from train to truck for over 10 years. But soon this location proved to be unsatisfactory. The ships were diverted to Emmerich and in the meantime a new barge terminal in Twente was being built. In the intervening years, the drivers of Bolk Container Transport often drove three times a day back and forth between Emmerich and Twente.
In close consultation with customers and the government, a former Akzo storage site in Hengelo was chosen as the location for the new Twente container terminal. The terminal was built with a subsidy from Brussels and a loan from the province. CTT was granted the concession to operate the terminal, provided that CTT would make itself independent from its parent company Bolk. Three new shareholders stepped in and raised the money to invest in the gantry crane, forklift trucks and a modest office.
From the first container in 2001, CTT has experienced an unexpectedly prosperous development. Reasons for this success were the large service area far into Germany, the large export volume in Twente that helps to reuse import containers. And, of course, the shareholders’ willingness to reinvest the profits time and again and CTT’s driven and skilled team.
The unexpected growth led to a lack of space. Between 2010 and 2012 CTT was able to take over the space that became available when the Akzo chlorine plant was closed down and future crown successor Willem-Alexander reopened the renovated terminal. Thanks to the strong base in Hengelo, CTT grew further to Rotterdam and Almelo. The short-lived return to Almelo due to the lock obstruction in 2012 became permanent in 2016 with the opening of the container terminal at the XL Park.
The availability of a container terminal is an important location condition for companies in logistics, trade and manufacturing. CTT has been able to make an important contribution to the success of Port of Twente, the XL Park and the development of Twente as a logistics hotspot. Partly because of this, many new jobs have been created and large investments have been made in the locks and the widening of the Twente Canal.
No one expected CTT to develop like this in 1996. Vision, courage and entrepreneurship have created a beautiful success story with new opportunities for the future. CTT therefore thanks all clients, employees, governments and other stakeholders from the very beginning until now for their trust, commitment and contribution in the past 25 years!
Management Bolk and CTT
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