|Rotterdam Port |
The port territory of Rotterdam Europoort stretches over an area some 40 kilometres long, within and to the west of the city, the main part lying on the southern bank side. The port area can be divided into three large zones. To the east are the old harbours, most of which came into being before the Second World War, on the banks of the Nieuwe Maas constructed in 1872. West of this, on the Nieuwe Waterweg, are the extensions that were mainly built in the 1950s and 1960s, and which form the core area of today's Europoort. The newest part of the port area is the Maasvlakte, located at the mouth of the river, which was reclaimed from the sea in the 1970s onwards.
Extensions to the port and industrial areas have led to a physical division of the goods handled. The handling of containers is concentrated on the Maasvlakte and on a small number of areas on the southern bank. The loading of large container ships sailing on intercontinental routes takes place on the Maasvlakte. The older general cargo harbours were rebuilt especially for short sea container traffic.
The handling of bulk goods takes place mainly in the newer port areas to the west. One-third of the coal and so-called agri-bulk products such as cereals, seeds, soya beans, maize or tapioca reach the markets in Western Europe through Rotterdam Europoort; the same applies to some 45 percent of all ores, scrap products, minerals and other dry bulk goods. Four oil refineries of international significance as well as more than 40 chemical and petrochemical companies are based in the port. Rotterdam, together with Houston and Singapore, belongs to the three most important oil and chemicals centres in the world. The increasing size of vessels in the last few decades has led to ever larger and deeper harbour basins being constructed towards the mouth of the river.
Waterways and Transport Connections
Today, between Rotterdam and Maasvlakte, there are four waterways lying parallel to one another. From north to south these are the Nieuwe Waterweg for ships between the North Sea and the eastern port area, the Calandkanaal for ocean shipping to and from Europoort, the Hartelkanaal south of Europoort for inland vessels to and from Europoort which can sail up the Rhine as far as Basel without impediment and finally the Brielse Meer, before 1960 the "Brielse Maas", which is surrounded by a green belt and used today for leisure purposes.
Since the tidal range in the Rotterdam port area is no greater than some 1.60 metres, it is not necessary to separate the harbour basins from the open water by means of sluices, as for example in London and Antwerp. This open connection to the sea, the very deep navigation channels, the strategically favourable location in Europe and the perfect connections to the hinterland, together with the high quality of the services offered, are the guarantees of Rotterdam's success.
Every year, 31,000 ocean-going ships and 133,000 inland vessels dock in the Port of Rotterdam. The port has a large number of short sea and feeder services to more than 200 other European ports. Feeder services act as suppliers for the international sea traffic. Thus the large ocean-going vessels of the globally-operating shipping companies only need to sail to a small number of main European ports.
Rotterdam possesses a well-developed network of waterways, pipelines, rail and road connections. Via the Maas, the Rhine and numerous canals, inland shipping can reach almost the whole of Northern and Western Europe. Rotterdam's hinterland is considerably expanded by the Main-Danube Canal. Pipelines connect the port with Germany, Belgium and the south of the Netherlands. Since rail transport is environment-friendly and the European road network is stretched almost to the limits of its capacity, transport by rail is actively promoted by the European Union. A 160 kilometre high-speed freight line (Betuweroute) from the Maasvlakte to the German border was completed in 2007. The rail network serves especially for the transportation of containers and bulk goods like iron ore and coal. Thus, for example, 28 trains per week transport some 5.5 million tons of iron ore from the EMO terminal on the Maasvlakte to the steelworks at Dillingen in Saarland.
For the storage and distribution of container loads there are three "Distriparks". These are sites with large warehouses, situated as near as possible to container terminals, and at the same time having good connections to the road, waterway and rail networks. Here, goods can be stored, sorted, packed or repacked prior to transport to their onward destinations.
In order to limit air pollution, various measures have been taken especially to reduce the release of fine particles. However it is transport rather than industry that is the most significant source of air pollution in Rotterdam.
Also in the future, the development of the Port of Rotterdam will be closely linked to international developments. Following above-average growth in the first half-year of 2007, the port authorities anticipated that the annual volume of goods handled would show a substantial increase over the previous year to a total of 390 million tons.
L. Vankan; Ü: J. Attfield
Keywords: bulk goods container terminal economy goods handling lighthouse logistics Netherlands North Sea petrochemicals pipeline port power station refinery roll-on/roll-off facility seaport shipping shipping route transport waterway wharf
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