Long-term vision for port of Rotterdam in preparation

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has calculated that throughput could rise from approx. 420 million tonnes now to approx. 575-740 million tonnes in 2030. On the basis of three different economic scenarios, the Port Authority has made so-called potential estimates for goods throughput in the coming decades.

They form the basis for the ‘Port Vision 2030’, which the Port Authority is going to draft. The throughput volumes differ per scenario, but there are a couple of general trends. In all of the scenarios, containers are the biggest growth sector. Raw materials show limited growth or even a decline, while semi-manufactured products, like mineral oil products and steel, are set to increase. In addition, developments in the energy field have a big influence on throughput volumes. In the most sustainable scenario, for example, the transshipment of biomass and LNG increases sharply, while crude oil throughput falls.

Hans Smits, Port Authority CEO: “The Port Vision 2030 is meant to serve as a pointer for the further development of the port.  Rotterdam’s port and industrial complex is one of the strongest clusters in our national economy. The Port Vision 2030 is therefore of national importance. In the next half year, we will be looking to talk with stakeholders, clients and authorities and expect to complete the vision by summer 2011.”

The Port Authority used economic scenarios from the CPB (Central Planning Office) and EU to get a picture of the opportunities and threats for the development of the port. The scenarios are based, respectively, on:

- existing policy and moderate economic growth (European Trend scenario)

- further globalisation combined with a low oil price, leading to high economic growth (Global Economy scenario), and

- a high oil price, a strict environmental policy, moderate economic growth and a relatively rapid shift to sustainability by industry and logistics (High Oil Price scenario).

With every scenario, throughput increases, but not to the same degree for every type of goods. Container traffic, for example, increases more as globalisation increases and transport is cheap as a result of low oil prices. If environmental regulations become more stringent and oil more expensive, then steel production in Europe falls (less CO2 emissions in Europe, less imported iron ore, more imported steel), for instance, and a number of refineries in Europe close down. At the same time, more oil products are then imported and a larger percentage of our energy needs is met by renewable sources.

The recently made potential estimates are the first step on the path to the Port Vision 2030. In the past few months, the results of the estimates were tested against the knowledge of a large number of companies. At the moment, the Port Authority is analysing the consequences and possible limitations of the estimates when it comes to the environment, space, hinterland connections and labour. This autumn, a number of discussions will be held with interest groups, authorities and the business sector. The idea is that the initial contours of the Port Vision will become visible around the turn of the year, after which it can become the subject of a public discussion.

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