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Master Plan determines the layout of the port and industrial sites

The decision to accommodate container transfer, distribution and chemical industry at Maasvlakte 2 is final. But how will the port and industrial sites be developed? What is a safe elevation for the sites? How long should the quays be? And which requirements do the quay walls, for example, need to satisfy?

Site levels

The sites have been constructed in such a way that even after thirty years of soil compaction, they will still have the required elevation of +5 m New Amsterdam Water Level (NAP). This is as high as the sites on the existing Maasvlakte. Studies focusing on how the sites could be safeguarded from flooding played an important role in determining this elevation. The studies took account of the rising sea level and expected storm conditions. The standard established for Maasvlakte 2 determines that the area may only be flooded once every 10,000 years on average. This standard is guaranteed for the next century. The main road will be constructed at +5.5 m NAP, so that the area remains accessible for emergency services in the event of a flood.

Port sites

A container terminal's efficiency is determined by the quay length in proportion to the surface area of the site. However, this is not a fixed proportion. For example, a container terminal that handles a lot of sea/sea transshipment requires more quay length than a container terminal serving the hinterland. The minimum required surface area is determined by the desired annual cargo turnover per terminal - the so-called terminal productivity. For Maasvlakte 2, this terminal productivity has been set at approximately 27,700 TEU/hectare/year. This figure is substantially higher than the terminal productivity at the existing Maasvlakte, which in 2005 was 18,000 TEU/hectare/year on average. For the Rotterdam port as a whole, this figure was even lower. The minimum quay length for a standard 60-ha container terminal was determined on the basis of the expected average percentages for sea/sea cargo and hinterland transport. Combined, these assumptions have resulted in the optimum choice for the site depth of 600 m. This depth was adopted in the design for the container terminals at Maasvlakte 2. The sites that will be accommodating chemical industry and distribution activities will be subject to fewer requirements, although most chemical companies will prefer to set up at a site with sufficient waterfront so that they can construct the required number of jetties.

Quay walls

Sites allocated to containers will feature deepsea quay walls with a maximum depth of -20 m NAP. All in all, the plans for Maasvlakte 2 outline over 9 km of sea quay wall. The quay walls won't all be constructed in one go. This would involve a substantial pre-investment in quay walls that would not be used for years to come. Waiting with construction means that the developer can effectively respond to future developments that set specific requirements. In areas where quay walls will not be constructed as yet, the banks will get a temporary incline (slope). This incline allows the developer to construct a future deepsea quay wall in soil. This is simpler and cheaper than building the quay in the water. The quay will be built in the sand that has been sprayed on earlier. After construction, one side of the quay wall, on the future waterfront, will be dredged free. In the case of offshore construction, the land side is filled in with sand after construction.

The container terminals will also feature quay walls specifically constructed for coastal and inland vessels. The depth can vary from client to client, ranging from -10 to -12 m NAP. Shallower quay walls are cheaper to construct and in combination with a smaller and lower crane, increase the crane productivity with respect to smaller ships. Plans outline a total of nearly 3 km of quay wall reserved exclusively for inland shipping and coastal shipping.

The deepsea quay walls will be prepared for the later introduction of cold ironing facilities. Shore power will possibly be implemented in the future. Shore power involves supplying a ship with electricity from the quay. This means that ships are no longer dependent on generators for electricity, reducing the emission of harmful substances and CO2.

Bank protection and jetties

In those areas that don't feature a quay wall, the developer will construct bank protection. At the future sites of transfer jetties, the bank protection will be extended to the zone affected by the ships' propellers. The bank protection will be partially fitted with an improved hard substrate, helping organisms like algae, crabs and mussels to establish themselves in the tidal zone. This will have a positive effect in the water quality in the port basins. In the case of the sites allocated to the chemical sector, the clients will build special jetties for the loading and unloading of their products. The optimum location for these jetties and their actual dimensions will be determined by the clients.

Points of departure

When drafting the Master Plan, an important point of departure was maintaining flexibility: lay down what needs to be laid down, but where possible, keep your options open. For this reason, the sites along the outer contour will not be constructed in the first phase, so that future changes in current insights can be effectively addressed. The infrastructure can grow along with the capacity requirement and the clients' demands. The design for Maasvlakte 2 needs to be sufficiently flexible to allow for an effective response to future developments in the market, such as deviations from the forecast growth in container transfer, the chemical sector and the distribution sector. Sites that have been assigned to container companies in the Master Plan but that have not yet been granted have been designed so that they can also accommodate clients working in the chemical industry, and vice versa.


The development of the port sites in the Master Plan is based on a number of variant studies. Among other things, these studies took account of clustering, the minimum size of the container terminals, the access to hinterland connections and shifts in the various modes of transport (the modal shift; the transport handled by road, rail and water respectively). Flexibility in the granting of sites also played an important role. To enable the planners to make a decision, the studies always provided a general picture of the impact of the variants. One of the key decisions made in this context involved the orientation of the port basins. Weighing the influence of the wind on shipping against its influence on the container cranes, the planners decided on aligning the basins with the dominant south-western wind direction.