International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

With the press of a button Mayor Ivo Opstelten on September 1 set in motion the sand-spraying operation for Maasvlakte 2. This in turn was the starting signal for this expansion of the port of Rotterdam.

The 2000-hectare land reclamation project is an extension of the existing Maasvlakte terminal. The new land will provide 1000 hectares of surface area suitable for building container terminals and related handling facilities.

“An historic day for our port. After 15 years of making plans discussion and procedures we are now making a start on this urgently needed port expansion” said Opstelten. “Maasvlakte 2 is important for our economy and for our prosperity. But Maasvlakte 2 also symbolizes the vitality of Dutch logistics industry and hydraulic engineering. These all come together in this project” said Hans Smits Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO.

The Port Authority will bear the costs and risks of building Maasvlakte 2. Forty percent of the space on Maasvlakte 2 has already been let to various container terminals. At the beginning of this year a contract worth €1.1 billion was signed with dredgers Boskalis and Van Oord to perform the first phase of the land reclamation. In total the project will cost € 3 billion. The first ship is due to dock in the new harbor in 2013. The project will increase the port of Rotterdam by 20 percent.

All construction permits have been granted. Some objections have been lodged against two of these but they have not led to any new points of view.

Room for Nature Planned

The Port of Rotterdam Authority’s ambition is to make Maasvlakte 2 the most sustainable port area. As a consequence it has for instance made far-reaching agreements with the companies planning to set up business there particularly regarding the transport of more containers by rail and inland shipping and fewer by road. But the construction itself is also extremely responsible from the perspective of nature and the environment. In the coming years the Port Authority will for example be keeping a keen eye on the impact the construction has on the ecosystem in the North Sea.

In recent years a lot of energy has gone into research and the making of agreements between numerous authorities interest groups and the Port Authority. It has been agreed with all ministries involved – the province the municipality the business community and four environmental organizations – that for the next 25 years parties will jointly monitor the effects of the reclaimed land on the environment whether or not all agreements made are observed and if they perhaps require modification.

Maasvlakte 2 is part of the Rotterdam Mainport Development Project (PMR) the aim of which is to boost both the economy and the quality of life. At the same time as Maasvlakte 2 including ecological compensation 750 hectares of new extra space for nature will be created around Rotterdam and a series of projects will be implemented under the heading Existing Rotterdam Area to enhance the quality of life and make more intensive use of the existing port.