Air Cargo Quarterly
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Maasvlakte 2 €150 million cheaper than estimated
Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, opened port expansion project Maasvlakte 2.
“Today we are clearing the way for international shipping and trade. That’s typical of the Netherlands. That’s how we became big. With Maasvlakte 2, the Netherlands is throwing the door wide open to the newest generation of container ships. And we offer space for the latest terminals. The port is growing 20% larger, and the container capacity has doubled. Thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created.” With these words, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, today opened Maasvlakte 2 to shipping. “Together we have succeeded in constructing this phase of Maasvlakte 2 according to schedule and well inside budget. The project has turned out approx. €150 million less expensive than estimated. This becomes evident now that the construction has been largely completed”, according to Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Today, a fleet of around 25 vessels, varying from classic three-masters to a modern container ship, will be the first to sail officially via the Yangtzekanaal to Maasvlakte 2.
Hans Smits: “From today, Maasvlakte 2 is an integral part of the port area. The area is now accessible by road, rail and water. The construction of the two container terminals of RWG and APMT is on schedule. They will be operational at the end of next year, but there will be other activity in the short term as well. In the second half of this year, the Port Authority will place poles in the inland lake of Maasvlakte 2 for ship-to-ship transfer. There are also advanced plans for developing an industrial park for the (bio-based) chemical industry on the site next to Lyondell. Together with partners, the Port Authority will construct the infrastructure so that new businesses can set to work quickly. We have also observed that there is increased interest in distribution activities due to the coming of the new container terminals.”
Maritime AccessConsiderable simulation research was carried out for the waterways on Maasvlakte 2. This helped determine the shape and width of the waterways and port basins that were constructed. The Yangtzekanaal is 600 metres wide so that two mega container ships can pass each other while a third is moored at the quay. The dominant wind direction in the Netherlands is southwest. The Amaliahaven has the same orientation, so moored vessels catch less wind there. And the shape of Maasvlakte 2 has reduced the cross current in the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg. Vessels with deep draught in particular now have less trouble with this.
On 1 September 2008, the then mayor Opstelten gave the go-ahead for the construction of Maasvlakte 2. Contractors Boskalis and Van Oord, united in PUMA, sprayed 240 million cubic metres of sand (160 times Rotterdam’s De Kuip soccer stadium filled to the brim), constructed a 3.5-km hard seawall with 7 million tonnes of stone and 20,000 concrete blocks from the old seawall, built several kilometres of quay wall and laid down roads and railway lines. The port now has 700 hectares more land for business sites. Another 300 hectares will be added to this in the second phase. Work is currently still underway to achieve the optimum connection of the infrastructure on Maasvlakte 2 to the existing port area.
A series of important milestones were achieved in 2012. The bathing beach was opened for use in May. Queen Beatrix closed the seawall in July, while the road and railway along the seawall were opened in October. The latter was necessary before work could start in November on opening the Yangtzekanaal through to Maasvlakte 2. This was required to provide access for vessels with equipment for the new container terminals of APMT and RWG.
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