The Port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport
and the largest outside of Asia
, located in the city of Rotterdam
in the province of South Holland
in the Netherlands
. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port
, now overtaken first by Singapore
and then Shanghai
. In 2018, Rotterdam was the world's eleventh-largest container port
in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units
[Top 50 World Container Ports](_blank)
World Shipping Council
In 2017 Rotterdam was the world's tenth-largest
port in terms of annual cargo tonnage.
Covering , the port of Rotterdam now stretches over a distance of . It consists of the city centre's historic harbour area, including Delfshaven
; the Maashaven/Rijnhaven/Feijenoord
complex; the harbours around Nieuw-Mathenesse; Waalhaven
; Vondelingenplaat; Eemhaven; Botlek
, situated along the Calandkanaal, Nieuwe Waterweg
(the latter two being continuations of the Nieuwe Maas
); and the reclaimed Maasvlakte
area, which projects into the North Sea. The Port of Rotterdam is located in the middle of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta
. Rotterdam has five port concessions (ports) within its boundaries - operated by separate companies under the overall authority of Rotterdam.
Rotterdam consists of five distinct port areas and three distribution parks that facilitate the needs of a hinterland
with over 50,000,000 consumers throughout the continent of Europe.
In the first half of the 19th century the port activities moved from the centre westward towards the North Sea
. To improve the connection to the North Sea, the Nieuwe Waterweg
("New Waterway"), a large canal, was designed to connect the Rhine
rivers to the sea. The Nieuwe Waterweg, designed by Pieter Caland
, was to be partly dug, then to further deepen the canal bed by the natural flow of the water. Ultimately however, the last part had to be dug by manual labour as well. Nevertheless, Rotterdam from then on had a direct connection between the sea and harbour areas with sufficient depth. The Nieuwe Waterweg has since been deepened several times. It was ready in 1872 and all sorts of industrial activity formed on the banks of this canal.
Europoort and Maasvlakte extensions
Over the years the port was further developed seaward by building new docks and harbour-basins. Rotterdam's harbour territory has been enlarged by the construction of the ''Europoort
'' (gate to Europe) complex along the mouth of the ''Nieuwe Waterweg''. In the 1970s the port was extended into the sea at the south side of the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg by completion of the ''Maasvlakte
-plain) which was built in the North Sea
near Hoek van Holland
In the past five years the industrialised skyline has been changed by the addition of large numbers of wind turbine
s taking advantage of the exposed coastal conditions. The construction of a second Maasvlakte
received initial political approval in 2004, but was stopped by the Raad van State (the Dutch Council of State
, which advises the government
on legislation and governance) in 2005, because the plans did not take enough account of environmental issues. On 10 October 2006, however, approval was acquired to start construction in 2008, aiming for the first ship to anchor in 2013.
Most important for the port of Rotterdam
is the petrochemical industry
and general cargo transshipment
handlings. The harbour functions as an important transit point for transport of bulk
and other goods between the European continent and other parts of the world. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. Since 2000 the ''Betuweroute
'', a fast cargo railway
from Rotterdam to Germany
, has been under construction. The Dutch
part of this railway opened in 2007. Large oil refineries
are located west of the city. The rivers Meuse
(''Maas'') and Rhine
also provide excellent access to the hinterland
The EECV-quay of the port has a draft
of 24 metres (78 feet). This made it one of only two available mooring locations for one of the largest bulk cargo ships in the world, the iron ore bulk carrier MS ''Berge Stahl''
when it is fully loaded, along with the Terminal of Ponta da Madeira
, until the opening of a new deep-water iron ore wharf at Caofeidian
in China in 2011. The ship's draft of 23 meters (75 feet) leaves only 1 metre (3 feet) of under keel clearance
, therefore it can only dock in a restricted tidal window.
Such ships must travel in the Eurogeul
Robotic container operations
Much of the container loading and stacking in the port is handled by autonomous robotic cranes and computer controlled chariots. Europe Container Terminals
, which operates two major container terminals at the port, pioneered the development of terminal automation. At the Delta terminal, the chariots—or automated guided vehicle
s (AGV)—are unmanned and each carries one container. The chariots navigate their own way around the terminal with the help of a magnetic grid built into the terminal tarmac. Once a container is loaded onto an AGV, it is identified by infrared
"eyes" and delivered to its designated place within the terminal. This terminal is also named "the ghost terminal".
Unmanned Automated Stacking Cranes (ASC) take containers to/from the AGVs and store them in the stacking yard. The newer Euromax terminal implements an evolution of this design that eliminates the use of straddle carrier
s for the land-side operations.
The Port Authority at the Port of Rotterdam uses the Internet of Things
, a cloud-based platform, to collect and process data from sensors around the port. In May 2019, the port sent Container 42 out on a two-year data-collecting mission.
The port is operated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority, originally a municipal body of the municipality of Rotterdam, but since 1 January 2004, a government corporation jointly owned by the municipality of Rotterdam and the Dutch State.
The Port of Rotterdam and its surrounding area is susceptible to a storm surge
from the North Sea. As part of the Delta Works
plan, the Maeslantkering flood barrier
was constructed from 1991 to 1997 to protect the area. This flood barrier
consists of two huge doors that normally rest in a dry dock
besides the Nieuwe Waterweg. When a flood of above NAP
(mean sea level) is predicted, the barrier is activated. The dry dock is flooded, and the gates rotate around a pivot to float into position, like caissons
, and sunk in place. When the water level recedes enough to open the gates, they are floated back into their docks. Another barrier, the Hartelkering
, is situated in the Hartelkanaal.
The Port of Rotterdam aims to be emissions-free by the year 2050.
Map of port
* Port of Antwerp
Port of RotterdamRotterdam is the sixth biggest port
Category:Ports and harbours of the North Sea
Category:Economy of Rotterdam
Category:14th-century establishments in the Netherlands