Construction of Maasvlakte 2, Rotterdam

Construction of Maasvlakte 2 Rotterdam Circa 2011

Photo: Port of Rotterdam.

Maasvlakte 2 is a major civil engineering project in the port of Rotterdam (the Netherlands) involving the construction of a new port area and supporting infrastructure on reclaimed land. A 20-meter-deep port was created with space for deep sea-related container activities, distribution, and chemical industry. Approximately 2000 ha was reclaimed behind a 3.5km long breakwater/seawall. When fully developed, Maasvlakte 2 will add 1000 ha of port area. The other 1,000 ha consists of infrastructure such as seawalls, waterways, railways, roads, and harbors. The basic infrastructure was completed in 2013. The port area is home to container terminals of APM Terminals and Rotterdam World Gateway (operated by DP World). Both terminals opened in 2015.

The land reclamation of Maasvlakte 2 was part of a broad package of measures to improve the social
and environmental climate of the area. Five Dutch ministries, the Province of South Holland, the Rotterdam City District, and the Rotterdam Municipality, collaborated in 1997 on the Rotterdam Main Port Development Project, or PMR. PMR encompasses three linked projects:

  • The construction of Maasvlakte 2, including extensive compensation measures for natural areas, was lost in the process. Costs and risks concerning the land reclamation were the full responsibility of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
  • Execution of a large number of projects in the existing port and industrial zone for more efficient use of the space and improvement of the social climate.
  • Construction of 750 hectares of new nature and recreation area in the immediate
    vicinity of Rotterdam.

The consortium PUMA (Project Uitbreiding Maasvlakte, a combination of companies Boskalis and Van Oord) was contracted to build the first sites, quay walls, road and rail infrastructure, docks and canal and sea defense with a value of 1.1 billion euro. This phase was completed in April 2013 and covers a port area of 700 hectares of plots for lease. The Port Authority chose a design, construction, and maintenance contract.

Some technical figures on the scale of the project:

  • Land reclamation works required 240 million cubic metres of sand sprayed to create land, raise industrial sites and construct 7.5 km of beaches and dunes.
  • The 3.5 km hard seawall contains 7 million tons of riprap, 20,000 concrete blocks, and 150,000 tonnes of clay. The design of the hard seawall was optimized as a stony dune with a block dam in front of it as a breakwater.
  • The construction of the quay walls required 300,000 cubic meters of concrete.

Source: adapted from Port of Rotterdam website and Van der Plas, R. (2013). Maasvlakte 2, providing ample space for the future, Port Technology International, issue 58, p. 20-22