25 February 2014

The UK has recently been debating whether it can afford to lose some land back to the sea, following the recent floods, but the Netherlands is looking to reclaim yet more land from the North Sea.

Specifically, another 2000 hectares have been added to what is already Europe’s biggest port, meaning that Rotterdam will have grown by 20% once the new area becomes fully operational.

The Dutch are creating additional deep-port capacity in Rotterdam in order to be able to welcome the newest generation of ultra-large container vessels, such as new 400-metre long ships that can carry up to 18,000 containers.

Public information officer Hans Volker said: "The new port development is attracting investment from companies around the world who want to take advantage of the European single market. Extra capacity and new infrastructure links will ensure Rotterdam retains its lead as Europe's trading gateway and will ultimately benefit businesses and consumers across the continent."

Although the first ships have still to arrive, Rotterdam has already taken delivery of a dozen new quay cranes. These are semi-automated and each one can carry two containers simultaneously.

They belong to two competing container terminals that can unload the newest generation of container ships 24 hours a day. When the new terminals open in November of this year, more than 25 of these huge cranes will be operational.

They will be servicing the 32,000 ocean-going vessels and 87,000 inland vessels that make use of the port before the new facilities come into operation.