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Dredgers are working

Dredgers are working
The developer and future first tenants of the giant Maasvlakte 2 port expansion development at Rotterdam are giving an upbeat analysis.

The developer and future first tenants of the giant Maasvlakte 2 port expansion development at Rotterdam are giving an upbeat analysis.

The developer and future first tenants of the giant Maasvlakte 2 port expansion development at Rotterdam are giving an upbeat analysis of both progress and prospects despite the potential implications of the current economic recession.

As reported in Maritime Journal (June 2009), the Port of Rotterdam is undertaking their most ambitious project ever with Maasvlakte 2, the expansion of the port beyond the existing coastline bordering the existing Maasvlakte port complex. Anticipated growth within the port is the prime driver behind the ambitious scheme that will see the existing Maasvlakte area virtually double in size and increase the port"s surface area by 20%.

Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) and APM Terminals (APMT) are set to become the first residents at Maasvlakte 2 and while the current world financial situation has naturally led to extra calculations, both report that their plans remain on track for operations to commence in 2013 and 2014.

Frank Keizer, project director for RWG whose consortium besides DP World comprises APL, Hyundai, MOL and CMA-CGM, speaks positively of the project. "We will be opening the first section of our terminal according to plan in the second half of 2013, he said. "Of course we hope that by that time the global situation has changed again. We expect to be able to create sufficient volume with their transport flows. This doesn"t take away the fact that like every entrepreneur, we do worry about the development of the market."

RWG will have 1,000m of quay available for deepsea ships and 550m for inland vessels and feeders at their disposal and they are working towards determining the final design of the terminal, which will be one of the most advanced container handling facilities in the world.

While also acknowledging the current global financial situation, APMT, who are set to have a similar sized area as RWG at their disposal with phase one, are also making positive progress with their plans.

John Verschelden, APM Terminal"s Maasvlakte 2 project managing director states that they have a clear picture of what the new terminal will look like for what they see as a long-term investment. He said, "We ask ourselves the same questions as everyone else. Has the present dip in container transhipment reached its lowest point? Is growth on the horizon again? And, if so, at which rate? We"re keeping a close eye on the market, talk intensively with clients and meticulously study the predictions of, for example, the OECD."

Meanwhile construction itself is making visibly impressive progress. What just four months ago was an offshore sandbank barely visible now comprises two distinct reclaimed islands with construction plant and temporary buildings in place. Contractor PUMA has used six trailing suction hopper dredgers to import some 50m cubic metres of sand with the priority now to connect the outer island to the mainland, allowing work to continue with the onset of the autumn and winter storms.

Eventually shipping access to Maasvlakte 2 will be via the existing Yangtzehaven and in preparation for when the port basin is cut through to the new berths, a sub-surface pipeline system is being installed to provide utilities to the north of the Yangtzehaven. This unique project comprises six 1,200m long pipelines between 40cm and 1m diameter buried 42m beneath the basin, supplying electricity, data communication, sewerage, drinking water and gas services to the existing companies occupying land to the north of the Yangtzehaven.


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