Rotterdam Mainport development

The port of Rotterdam makes a significant contribution to the Dutch economy, particularly through the transport of goods. The Rotterdam Mainport Development Project is ensuring that the port has room to grow.

Expanding Rotterdam to remain competitive

Rotterdam is Europe's major port. It is especially important to the transport and logistics sectors, and the petrochemical and energy industries. There is little room for companies to expand in the years ahead in the existing port and industrial areas. Rotterdam will be unable to compete with other ports – in Europe and beyond – without additional room to expand.

New port area: Maasvlakte 2

The Dutch government therefore decided to strengthen the Rotterdam hub port by constructing a new port area (Maasvlakte 2). At the same time, the liveability of the Rhine Estuary region must be improved. That is the twofold aim of the Rotterdam Mainport Development Project.

  • reclaiming land for Maasvlakte 2;
  • providing environmental compensation for Maasvlakte 2;
  • developing 750 hectares to serve as a new nature and recreational area;
  • improving the current Rotterdam area via Existing Rotterdam Area projects. For example, creating community parks along the Meuse river.

Industrial site measuring 1000 hectares

The development of Maasvlakte 2 includes a new industrial site that is 1000 hectares in size and situated along deep water. This means that large seagoing vessels have direct access to Maasvlakte 2. The location also has good transport links to the European hinterland:

  • by rail via the Betuwe Line
  • by pipeline
  • via inland waterways
  • by road

Maasvlakte 2: measures for maintaining good air quality

Usage of Maasvlakte 2 could lead to poorer air quality due to the amount of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide emitted.

The government is taking various measures to prevent this.

  • From 2035, a ban on relatively highly polluting inland navigation vessels.
  • A speed limit on various sections of waterways.
  • An increase in port fees for relatively highly polluting inland navigation vessels.
  • The establishment of a low-emissions zone for freight transport: only relatively clean lorries are welcome on Maasvlakte 1 and 2.

The agreements on these measures are set down in the Overeenkomst luchtkwaliteit Maasvlakte 2 (Air Quality Agreement).

Maasvlakte 2 and nature compensation

The development and use of Maasvlakte 2 has an adverse impact on the sea and nature. Part of the surrounding dune area will also be lost. Under the Natuurbeschermingswet 1998 (Nature Protection Act) the government is obliged to provide compensation for such damage.