Rotterdam opens first phase of €3 billion Maasvlakte 2 project

  • First phase completed €150 million under budget

  • RWG & AMPT construction on schedule

The Port of Rotterdam officially opened the first phase of its new €3 billion Maasvlakte 2 extension on Wednesday that will eventually allow Europe’s largest cargo port to double the volume of goods handled.

“From today, Maasvlakte 2 is an integral part of the port area – the area is now accessible by road, rail and water,” said Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO, Hans Smits.

The first phase cost an estimated €1.55 billion – €150 million less than what was forecast back in 2006.

“Together we have succeeded in constructing this phase of Maasvlakte 2 according to schedule and well inside budget,” added Smits.

As many as 25 vessels, varying from classic three-masters to modern container ships, were the first to officially sail the Yangtzekanaal leading to Maasvalkte 2 yesterday, and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Netherland’s minister of infrastructure and the environment, was also on hand to celebrate the landmark occasion.

“Today we are clearing the way for international shipping and trade,” she said.

“With Maasvlakte 2, the Netherlands is throwing the door wide open to the newest generation of container ships.”

The construction of the two container terminals at Maasvlakte 2, Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) and APM Terminals (APMT), due to come into operation at the end of next year, are also on schedule, according to Smits.

However, Smits said on Wednesday that there are other activities scheduled to take place in the short term at the Maasvlakte 2 site. In the second half of this year, the Port Authority will place poles in the inland lake of Maasvlakte 2 for ship-to-ship transfer, while there are also advanced plans for developing an industrial park for the (bio-based) chemical industry on the site next to Lyondell.

“Together with partners, the Port Authority will construct the infrastructure so that new businesses can set to work quickly,” said Smits.

“We have also observed that there is increased interest in distribution activities due to the coming of the new container terminals.”

Last month, Maasvlakte contractors announced the completion of the project’s unique land reclamation project. The unique project assigned to the PUMA consortium, which included dredging giants Boskalis and Van Oord, has increased the size of the port by an additional 2,000 hectares.

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