The new port area must be conveniently accessible by land and water. Accessibility by road (the A15 and A4 motorways) is however already under pressure. It is expected that commuter, commercial and recreational traffic will continue to increase, even without the coming of Maasvlakte 2.
Maasvlakte 2 will cause around 29,100 vehicle movements per day by 2033. Two thirds of this is goods traffic. The effect on the region will actually be limited: around Vaanplein junction, Maasvlakte 2's contribution will only be 2 per cent of the total traffic (4,400 out of 176,500 vehicle movements) and 6 per cent of the goods traffic (3,200 of the 52,100 journeys).
Despite the limited effect of Maasvlakte 2 on the traffic problems, improving accessibility is high on the Port Authority's agenda. To guarantee good through-flow, and restrict the traffic and environmental nuisance, the Port Authority is implementing various measures. The principal one is the modal shift, obliging container terminals to transport more by inland vessels and trains and less by truck. Increased possibilities for public transport for employees and visitors are also under consideration. A number of companies are already working to set up shared passenger transport.
Shared passenger transport
In 2007, an experiment was done on the current Maasvlakte on employing a transport agent. The aim of this was to develop a collective passenger transport system together with established companies, so that employees at the port will have a good alternative to the car. One of the new facilities is a bus service to the existing Maasvlakte distribution park. Further, together with Deltalinqs (which promotes Rotterdam port and industries' interests), the Port Authority is investigating the travelling habits of port and industrial workers. This experiment will also serve as a model for the development of a collective passenger transport system for Maasvlakte 2.
Once Maasvlakte 2 is in full operation, the motorways in and around Rotterdam will have fewer traffic jam problems than at present. This is one of the conclusions in the report 'Maasvlakte 2: Visions on traffic and transport between 2020 and 2033' from the TNO research institute. The principal conclusion is that, in the coming 25 years, many measures will be implemented so that the traffic between the port and the hinterland will become cleaner and more efficient.
The A15 received a lot of attention in the TNO study: everyone fears the hardening of this important traffic artery. This fear is largely unfounded. As more goods will be transported by rail and inland waterway from 2020 and fewer by truck, the goods traffic on the A15 will reduce. This will have a positive effect on air quality. Moreover, the traffic from 2020 will be cleaner and more efficient, the researchers indicate. This will be the result of better traffic management and stricter environmental requirements. Fewer jams will be achieved because there will be more price incentives in 2020: the road users will feel their car journeys hitting their pockets. More traffic will then be displaced to times outside rush hour, and other drivers will opt for public transport.
Nevertheless, the great dependence on the A15 remains a vulnerable point. The report states that a new connection between the banks of the Maas could relieve the pressure on the A15. This would involve the construction of a tunnel between the Westland and Maasvlakte areas.
Road haulage: Environmental zone
The Municipality of Rotterdam will institute an environmental zone on the existing Maasvlakte and Maasvlakte 2 for truck traffic. This is an area into which only 'clean' trucks are allowed. It therefore means that trucks that emit too much nitrogen dioxide and fine particles may not enter the port area. This environmental zone will be instituted in 2013, when Maasvlakte 2 enters into use. An associated advantage of this measure is that there are also reduced emissions in the rest of the Netherlands, because the cleaner trucks travel there too.
The Port Authority together with the Municipality of Rotterdam and Rijkswaterstaat (Public Works) is investigating the possibilities to regulate the traffic better. One thing being considered is whether it would be possible no longer to allow trucks on to the A15 and A4 motorways around Rotterdam during the morning and evening rush hours. This distribution measure would have two advantages: driving outside the rush hour benefits the road capacity, and also the air quality. The emissions from a truck are in fact three times greater in a queue than during a journey at normal speed with no jams.
Another investigation is into the introduction of time slots: only loading and unloading containers by appointment and within defined times. Transport efficiency can be improved using advanced ICT applications, such as electronic advance notification with the allocation of time slots. All transporters are further encouraged to transport more with each vehicle movement.
Container transfer depot
Reduced truck traffic in and around Rotterdam can also be achieved by adopting a different approach toward transport. There are already plans for a container transferium to ship large numbers of containers between the Maasvlakte and the eastern side of Rotterdam. In this way, a substantial number of trucks will disappear from the A15.
One of the means of making environmental gains is barring inland vessels with outdated engines. Since 2010, the most-polluting inland vessels have had to pay extra port dues whenever they enter Rotterdam. This encourages the switchover to cleaner engines. The extra port dues are actually paid into the government's Incentive Scheme funds. This subsidy scheme has the aim of reducing the emission of polluting substances by the inland shipping sector. The vessels must switch over to cleaner diesel engines, or modify their engines by fitting filters for example. If this measure does not provide sufficient reduction, then a maximum sailing speed for the most polluting vessels will be introduced on certain waterways, particularly on the Old and New Maas and the Hartelkanaal. Half of all the inland vessels sailing in the Netherlands visit Rotterdam. Sailing with cleaner engines will therefore have a beneficial effect on the whole country.
Increasingly strict rules apply to sulphur emission. Since August 2007, the fuel for ocean-going vessels in the North Sea may only contain 1.5 per cent sulphur. This was 2.7 per cent before. From 2010, the fuel of ships at the quays of European ports may not contain more than 0.1 per cent sulphur.
Since 1 January 2011, the very cleanest ocean-going vessels in Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Moerdijk have received a discount on their port dues. This discount can be as much as five per cent. To be eligible for the discount, the ship must get a high score on the Environmental Ship Index (ESI), a new international standard for emissions from ocean-going vessels. Ships that perform better than the legal standard are rewarded. The introduction of ESI fits in with the Port Authority's policy and contributes to sustainable port development. The ESI was developed by the ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bremen, Hamburg, Le Havre and Rotterdam in collaboration with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) and the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO).
The Betuweroute freight railway will be used more intensively in the future. Another project to improve air quality is the development of a clean, hybrid shunting locomotive.
Sustainability also applies to the use of AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), unmanned vehicles that transport containers from the quay and find their own way around the terminal. The diesel consumption of the old types is very high, as is the emission of fine particles and NOX (nitrogen oxides). The use of a hybrid technology with diesel-hydraulic propulsion provides much environmental gain: reduced fuel consumption, and less emissions and noise. All stevedores establishing themselves at Maasvlakte 2 have agreed contractually to make more use of electric propulsion in their vehicle fleet.