The Rotterdam port is by far the largest and most important port in Europe. However, after decades of growth, the existing port area has reached its limits: there's no room left. To also play a significant role in years to come, the port needs to expand. Stagnation means decline.
Thanks to its location directly on the North Sea and its deep port basins, Rotterdam is one of the few European ports where the largest ocean-going vessels can safely and swiftly load and unload 24 hours a day. Every year, an average of some 35,000 ocean-going vessels and 135,000 inland vessels visit the port.
As early as the 1970s, economists predicted that the port would one day be too small. At the time, the recently completed Maasvlakte could still keep the port going for some time to come, however. Concrete plans to expand the port have existed since 1993. In that year, the Municipality of Rotterdam drafted the 2010 Port Plan, which included a proposal for a second Maasvlakte. Working in consultation with regional interest groups, the municipal and provincial authorities determined the location of the new port area. This resulted in the plan outlining a seaward expansion to the west of the current Maasvlakte.
Economic growth and quality of life go hand in hand
From the outset, it was clear that economic growth would have to go hand in hand with quality of life in the region. The planners call this the dual objective. To realise these goals, two requirements were set for the new expansion plan: besides promoting the economic growth of the port area, the plan would also have to improve quality of life in the region. This is achieved by better utilising the existing port area and constructing 750 ha of new nature and recreation areas in addition to the construction of Maasvlakte 2.