As a large-scale project, Maasvlakte 2 has been carefully prepared. Not only because of the decision-making processes and the permit applications, but also because it is a complex project that has to comply with strict requirements across the board. Both in terms of preparation, execution and definitely also the eventual functioning of the new port area.
Port expansion fills need
Once again, the port of Rotterdam is running up against its limits in terms of space. There is virtually no room left in the existing port and industrial area for new companies and existing clients that wish to expand. If Rotterdam aims to continue to develop, the port needs to create extra space. Particularly for the deepsea container sector, the chemical industry and the distribution parks. These sectors offer the greatest opportunities. Future container ships will have a deeper draught than can be accommodated by existing ports. By effectively responding to this development with a 20-m deep port basin directly on the sea, Rotterdam can assure itself of a unique position in the European market.
The plan for Maasvlakte 2 was not developed yesterday. The first sketches for the design of the land reclamation date from as early as the 1990s. This resulted in a blueprint for the area called the Master Plan. A solid foundation that provides scope for facing the challenges of today and tomorrow. It consequently offers a good starting point for the contractor for the construction - and even interim improvement - of Maasvlakte 2.
PUMA makes its own plans
After an international tender procedure, the PUMA consortium managed to land the contract for the construction of Maasvlakte 2. The contract takes the shape of a design, construction & maintenance agreement. As such, it not only covers the construction of the new port area, but also the maintenance of the seawall and the quay walls. Furthermore, the tender procedure did not involve a ready-made design but rather a functional Programme of Requirements that derived from the Master Plan. The contractor has ample freedom to optimise the design and consequently make it better and more efficient. This way, PUMA can influence what it will ultimately be constructing and maintaining. The plan for Maasvlakte 2 will therefore also be the plan of the PUMA consortium.
Both during the tender phase, when potential contractors bid on the contract, and during the actual construction, the complex and risky components of the project are given extra attention. This way, the contractor was given more than enough opportunity to incorporate creative and innovative ideas in the final design. This means that the contractor has considerable freedom in choosing how to realise the project and how to organise its maintenance as efficiently as possible. The Port Authority is steering towards its main objective: a sustainable and safe port area with excellent accessibility and a minimal disruption of the environment and shipping traffic during its construction. This means that optimisations in the design can even be realised after the signing of the contract. For example, after the contract was awarded, the final design of the hard seawall was subjected to ongoing, extensive optimisation. The outcome is a better final result and lower costs. Two conditions that have been set for modifications to the design are that they comply with the Programme of Requirements and that all parties agree.
On a tight schedule
The clients for the sites currently under construction are waiting anxiously for the moment when they can start setting up their terminals. All the more reason to ensure that the first phase of Maasvlakte 2 is realised without delays. A tight planning schedule, constant monitoring of the progress and identifying the risks avoid unwelcome surprises. The construction work is on schedule to this very day.
Maasvlakte 2 connected and accessible
Of course, the new port complex is not a self-contained area. It connects directly to the existing Maasvlakte. This means that both the access roads and the railway lines and pipelines will need to be extended to the new area. The infrastructure of Maasvlakte 2 also needs to run smooth as silk in the near future. By already giving careful thought to this today, in 2013, Maasvlakte 2 will be a state-of-the-art industrial site that connects seamlessly to the existing Maasvlakte and the hinterland.