Global trade is one of the pillars of the world economy. With the rise in global trade, the demand for greater efficiency and the trend of ever larger ships, ports around the world are expanding. This also applies to the Port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe and among the biggest ports in the world. Around the year 2000 it became clear that the Port of Rotterdam would soon reach its maximum capacity within the existing port area. Wanting to maintain its leading position in Europe, the port needed additional space for growth. To achieve this, the Port Authority decided to think outside the box. If there’s no space to expand on land, why not create land in the sea?
In 2008, construction of the first phase of Maasvlakte 2 started. The entire Maasvlakte project includes reclaiming 2,000 hectares of land in different phases. The first phase consisted of the construction of 700 hectares of additional port area, 4.5 kilometres of quays, 3.5 kilometres of seawalls and 7.5 kilometres of beaches and dunes, and was completed in 2013. This 2.9-billion-euro project was carried out by a consortium of contractors Van Oord and Boskalis. The other phases of the construction of Maasvlakte 2 will be constructed when the need arises.
11,000 hopper loads
For the first phase, 240 million cubic metres of sand was dredged to create the new land. This comprised 200 million cubic metres of sand from offshore sand extraction sites on the North Sea, and an additional 40 million cubic metres of sand gained by deepening the port basins and removing an existing port area to create an entrance to the new section. In total, over 11,000 hopper loads were needed.