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Room for three sectors

Maasvlakte 2 offers 1,000 ha of allocatable sites located directly on deep water. What companies are allowed to set up here? And what are the location requirements? The Master Plan provides the answers to these questions.

The Key Physical Planning Decision provides room for three main segments:
- Deep water-based container storage and transfer
- The related distribution activities
- Deep water-based chemical industry

Growth forecast

Sea freight transport flows will continue to increase thanks to the growth of and changes in the global economy. Low production and labour costs in other parts of the world in combination with falling transport costs will promote the growth of sea freight transport. The trend of larger ships transporting more containers at lower costs will mean that freight transfer and transport to the hinterland is only possible in a limited number of ports. As a result, the demand for sites in the favourably located Rotterdam port will continue to increase in the coming decades. This forecast is the principal motive for the decision included in the Master Plan to expand the Rotterdam port.

Divided across three sectors

The container segment is expected to place the heaviest demand on space over the next thirty years. Generally speaking, the market segments in the Master Plan are divided on the basis of these market developments:

  • Container transfer: approximately 60% of the space will be made available for the storage and transfer of containers.
  • Chemical industry: approximately 30% will be reserved for the chemical sector, power stations and other industry.
  • Distribution: approximately 10% of the space will allocated for large-scale, seaport-based distribution and the storage of empty containers.

The Master Plan offers scope for responding effectively to actual market developments when determining the final structuring and distribution of the available space.


Clustering is one of the basic principles of the Master Plan. In terms of logistics, business economics and sustainability, locating companies involved in similar activities in the same area offers the greatest advantages. In the chemical industry in particular, companies can benefit from being located close together and exchanging semimanufactures, residues and residual heat. This form of sustainability has been safeguarded in the granting conditions and set down in contracts. In the container terminals too, the sustainability requirements for the terminal system have been laid down in contracts. For example, in 2033, a maximum of 35% of the containers may be conveyed from/to the hinterland via road haulage. The rest needs to be transported in or out via rail and inland shipping. In addition, requirements have been set for the emission levels and the energy consumption of terminal equipment.

Completion of the industrial sites

The storage and transfer of containers and chemical/industrial activities will take place at sites that border a port basin. Sites that accommodate distribution activities do not have to be situated directly on a port basin. Like everywhere in the port of Rotterdam, the Maasvlakte 2 sites will be delivered to the future client with a quay wall and a link to the infrastructure. Other facilities like paving, buildings, cranes and installations will be constructed by the clients themselves.

Business case

The project will be steered on a business case basis. Within this principle, investments are only justified if they are expected to yield sufficient returns. In the period until 2035, the total investment made at the risk and expense of the Port of Rotterdam Authority will be EUR 2.9 billion (2009 price level). To finance this investment, the Port Authority will primarily take out loans that will be repaid in the longer term from the proceeds of site rent and seaport dues. The Dutch State will also be prefinancing the project, to a sum of EUR 620 million. This prefinancing will be used for non-profitable components such as the seawall. The Port Authority will be repaying this sum, with interest, at a later stage.

The Dutch State has become a one-third shareholder in the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The Municipality of Rotterdam owns the remaining two-thirds of the shares.

The financiers have set requirements for Maasvlakte 2's return. The design and the granting scenario of the current Master Plan satisfy these requirements. These requirements will be re-evaluated with each new version of the Master Plan.

Market demand-driven design

The Maasvlakte 2 project is characterised by a phased construction. Only two-thirds of the eventual surface area will be constructed in the period until 2013. The remaining hectares will only be constructed after 2015. This will allow the developer to respond effectively to the space shortage that is expected to present itself at that point. By following market developments, vacancy is avoided as far as possible. This ensures a flexible response to future developments, since everything has not been laid down from the outset. Another financial-economic advantage of this approach is that investments can be postponed. In the second phase, sites will only be constructed once there is a demand for them.

Client-driven development

The Elaboration Agreement between the Dutch State and the Port Authority prescribed the contracting of a first client. At the start of construction in 2008, three major container clients had been contracted:

  • APM Terminals, on the eastern side of Prinses Amaliahaven. This client already has a terminal on the existing Maasvlakte.
  • Rotterdam World Gateway, on the western side of Prinses Amaliahaven. RWG is a new player in Rotterdam and is made up of DP World with a number of shipping companies.
  • Euromax, in the north-western corner in front of the expansion of the ECT container terminal in the north-western corner of the existing Maasvlakte.

The actual development of sites will be attuned as far as possible to the specific wishes of the clients. This will prevent divestments.