Security in the Port of Rotterdam



Jan Gardeitchik, Manager Policy Department, harbour master division, Port of Rotterdam Authority, Rotterdam, the Netherlands


In an open port area, an integrated approach to port security is essential. Establishing a physically tightly guarded overall port area is almost impossible in Rotterdam, due to the nature of its size. A mix of port facilities, roads, residential and recreational areas and lots of open water create the need for creativity and cooperation. Most far reaching is our opinion that port security, and of course safety and environmental protection, should be included in the design process of facilities as is done for logistics and efficiency. Operational aspects are dealt with through technical innovations but even more importantly, with smart cooperation between the responsible authorities and between authorities and private companies.

Rotterdam overview

The Port of Rotterdam is one of the main ports and the largest logistic and industrial hubs in Europe. With an annual throughput of 450 million tonnes of cargo, Rotterdam is by far the largest seaport of Europe. The port stretches out over 40 kilometres and is about 12,500 hectares (including Maasvlakte2). Including port approaches and anchorages the total length of the area is around 100 kilometres. Every year, some 34,000 deep sea ships and 133,000 inland waterway vessels call the port. The Rotterdam Port Authority supervises this shipping day and night with seven modern patrol vessels, mobile inspection teams and a high tech vessel traffic service (VTS) system, with the harbour coordination centre as the focal point. The harbourmaster of Rotterdam is responsible for realising a safe, clean, secure and efficient port. With the size of the port and the numerous port activities ranging from container terminals to dry and liquid bulk facilities including liquefied natural gas (LNG); this is a substantial task and demands cooperation. With regard to port security, the harbourmaster of Rotterdam acts as the ‘port security officer’ and is responsible for the overall coordination, the risk assessment, the ISPS certification process and the organisation of enforcement. As stated before, effective and smart cooperation with industry and other authorities is vital to be able to realise a sound port security. In Rotterdam this cooperation takes place on different levels. On a strategic level the Justice Department, Safety Region, National Police Force, Customs, Environmental Protection Agency and Port Authority act together as part of the Port Security Policy Board. On the tactical level, cooperation works in risk analysis and work planning. In the operations, authorities work together in multidisciplinary audit teams for ISPS certification and combined enforcement actions.


It’s the ambition of the …

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