Rotterdam's port and industrial area stretches from the city to the North Sea and comprises some 5,000 ha of industrial sites. This is not a static figure. After the Second World War, the port constantly developed in response to the private sector's consistently strong demand. For example, Rotterdam constructed the Botlek in the 1950s, Europoort in the 1960s and the Maasvlakte in the 1970s.
Once again, the Rotterdam port is running up against its limits in terms of space. The existing port and industrial area has virtually no room left for new companies and existing clients that wish to expand. If Rotterdam intends to continue developing, it will need to create extra space. The deepsea-related container sector and the chemical sector in particular require more room. This is where Rotterdam's opportunities lie. The container ships of the future will have a deeper draught than most European ports can accommodate. By effectively responding to this development, through the construction of a 20-m deep port located directly on the sea, Rotterdam can assure itself of a unique position in the market.
Employment and economic growth
Maasvlakte 2's importance for the regional and the Dutch economy can be assessed, among other things, in terms of the employment created by the new port area and its contribution to the national income. At present, 3% of the total Dutch national income is earned in the Rotterdam port (2009). The port and industrial complex offers direct employment to over 90,000 people. This equals 12% of the regional workforce. Once fully operational, Maasvlakte 2 will directly add another 6,000 jobs to this total (plus many times this figure in indirect employment).
The port's contribution to the Dutch economy as a whole is considerable. In 2008, the direct gross added value of Rotterdam's port and industrial complex totalled over EUR 15 billion. More than half of this added value was earned in the transport, storage and transfer of cargo. Primarily thanks to Rotterdam's strong position as a port, these activities were hit less hard by the credit crisis than similar operations in other countries. Consequently, the construction of Maasvlakte 2 is not only important for the regional economy, but also for that of the Netherlands and even of Europe as a whole.