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Sustainability criterion in selection procedure

Between 2005 and 2007, potential terminal operators were evaluated based on four criteria, each with its own weighting percentage:

  • Finances: 40 per cent
  • Sustainability: 20 per cent
  • Marketing and strategy: 25 per cent
  • Terminal concept/technology: 15 per cent.

This was the first time worldwide that a port authority explicitly included sustainability in a tendering procedure. Sustainability was assessed against three sub-criteria:
Environmental Management System (EMS)
Matters such as air quality, light, energy, waste and transport have been included in the EMS. For example: What is the vision on sustainable operation? How can pollution be avoided? How is the monitoring done? What measures are implemented if limits are exceeded?
Modal shift
This represents the proportion of rail, inland shipping and road within hinterland transportation. Given the fact that trucks and cars form a major part of air pollution and the accessibility of the region, firm requirements have been imposed to significantly reduce the use of trucks. 
The security of terminals and transport chains must be well organised.

Modal shift: reducing road haulage

Of the 11 million sea containers expected to arrive in the port at Maasvlakte 2 annually as from 2033, 4 million will be directly transported further by sea. So these place no burden on the hinterland. Of the containers destined for the hinterland, 50 per cent currently go by road. This freight traffic must be reduced to 35 per cent as of 2033. This too is a firm agreement. Only in this way can the extra traffic pressure be combated and the amount of damaging emissions like fine particles be reduced. All this is contractually stipulated, including fines for non-compliance with agreements.

Modal Split objective




47 per cent

35 per cent


40 per cent

45 per cent


13 per cent

20 per cent

Container transfer depots

The Port Authority itself is already active in the improvement of hinterland transport, for example through participation in the Betuweroute rail line and the development of a container transfer depot in the hinterland. Inland vessels bring the containers from the port to the transfer depot, from where they are transported by train or truck to their final destination. The result is that fewer trucks drive to and from the Maasvlakte, which is better for air quality.

Container terminals of the future

The stevedores at Maasvlakte 2 are developing a new generation of container terminals: sustainable and efficient. The businesses operate the policy that sustainability is today a 'licence to operate': only working in an energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly way, in harmony with the surroundings, has a future and makes economic growth possible.

The first designs for the quays combine high-tech with efficiency and sustainability. The cranes have the facility to unload multiple containers at once. One innovation is that the weight of the loaded containers can be used during unloading to generate electricity. It is also being investigated whether a collapsible container can be designed. The energy consumption and the emissions from the equipment on the quays is being drastically reduced. The means include hybrid technology, filters, and cleaner engines and fuels. The offices are designed as energy-saving and operate climate-neutrally. Good logistical planning ensures that the waiting times both on the land and sea sides are minimal. Emissions from engines running to supply energy on board waiting ships are thus reduced.

Collapsible container?

The Port Authority is a proponent of innovative entrepreneurism. Therefore it is closely following the developments in research into a collapsible container. The possibility of collapsing containers, just like shopping crates, is being investigated. Companies are studying this solution together with scientists from Delft University of Technology, among others. The gain is clear: rather than a single empty container, a truck could easily take four in one load. More efficient transport leads to less emission of damaging substances.

Two companies with innovative imaginations have developed a prototype of a collapsible container:

The pioneers are busy getting their containers certified. At the same time, they are hunting for market parties to adopt the concept.