The Port of Rotterdam expands with the EIB’s help
The coastline at Europe’s biggest port has been changed for good in late July with the closing of an eleven kilometre long seawall as part of the Maasvlakte 2 project. The EIB supports this landmark infrastructure project with a EUR 900m loan.
The expansion is essential for the port to continue to meet the growing demand for space in the years ahead and it also changes the map of the Netherlands. The port of Rotterdam grows by 20%, the Netherlands becomes 2,000 hectares larger and the coastline is 3.5 km further in the sea. The new area offers deep-sea-related container facilities and sites for the chemical processing industry and distribution services. These are of crucial importance to the Dutch and northwest European economy. Waterways, railway tracks, motorways and pipelines connect Europe’s largest port with destinations all over the continent. Shipping carries around 90% of EU external trade and maritime ports represent the Union’s gateways to the world.
The first containers to be processed at Maasvlakte 2 are expected for the second half of 2014, six years after construction started in 2008.
Helping to meet long-term transport needs
“The EIB is pleased to have worked closely with the Port of Rotterdam Authority over many years to ensure that expanded port facilities provided by Maasvlakte 2 can benefit economic activity in both the Netherlands and elsewhere in north-western Europe,” says EIB President Werner Hoyer.
Long-term investment in infrastructure of European importance, such the Rotterdam port is the bread and butter of the Bank’s activity. The EIB is backing this mega project with a EUR 900m loan to fund land reclamation and construction of container and specialist facilities to expand port capacity.
“The volume of this loan together with its very long duration makes it the cornerstone of our investment financing. Our projects are business case based, but it takes a long time to reach break-even points for these investments. That’s why this funding is important for this kind of projects”, says Port of Rotterdam CFO Paul Smits.
Sustainable infrastructure development in practice
Expanding the port and respecting the environment go hand in hand. The planners and engineers of the Port of Rotterdam expansion have paid special attention to factor-in the human element: a cycle path, a beach and a railway line are by-products of this large project that benefit the local population. Furthermore, the nature that is lost as a result of the construction of Maasvlakte 2 will be extensively compensated with the creation of a sea bed protection area reservation and the enlargement of the dune area.