menu close menu

The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Tankcon is located nearbij the Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands) which is the largest port in Europe.

From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore. In 2009, Rotterdam was the world's tenth-largest container port in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) handled (2008: ninth, 2006: sixth). In 2011 Rotterdam was the world's fifth-largest port in terms of annual cargo tonnage.

Covering 105 square kilometres (41 sq mi), the port of Rotterdam now stretches over a distance of 40 kilometres (25 mi). It consists of the city centre's historic harbor area, including Delfshaven; the Maashaven/Rijnhaven/Feijenoord complex; the harbours around Nieuw-Mathenesse; Waalhaven; Vondelingenplaat; Eemhaven; Botlek; Europoort, situated along the Calandkanaal, Nieuwe Waterweg and Scheur (the latter two being continuations of the Nieuwe Maas); and the reclaimed Maasvlakte area, which projects into the North Sea.

Rotterdam mainport is Europe's logistical nerve center with an infrastructure catering to all transport modalities. It consists of 5 distinct port areas and 3 distriparks that facilitate the needs of a hinterland with 40,000,000 consumers.

Europoort and Maasvlakte extensions:
Aerial view of the Maasvlakte area, one the latest extensions to the port.
Main articles: Europoort and Maasvlakte
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 (Meuse-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 turbines 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 and parliament on legislation and governance) in 2005, because the plans did not take enough account of environmental issues. On October 10, 2006, however, approval was acquired to start construction in 2008, aiming for the first ship to anchor in 2013.

Characteristics:
Container terminals showing a container being loaded onto an unmanned automated guided vehicle.
Most important for the port of Rotterdam are 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 river Meuse and Rhine also provide excellent access to the hinterland.