High Water Impacts on Shipping and Ports

High Water Impacts on Shipping and Ports




The port of Rotterdam will be affected by sea level rise, and measures considered, including the temporary closing off of the port, will impact shipping and routing in the port.


The Netherlands, partly lying below sea level, needs to prepare itself for sea level rise and ensure its people and assets are protected. The western part, where the Randstad is located, is the most densely populated area, also housing the largest value of real estate and industrial assets. It is this part that is located largely below sea level (down to minus 7 MSL).

A major hub is the Port of Rotterdam, the largest port of Europe. To protect the city of Rotterdam and its surroundings for the period after 2050, several scenarios are being developed, including packages that will affect shipping and accessibility of the port. One can imagine that closing off certain routes or the introduction of locks on main corridors will severely affect the navigability and accessibility of sections of the port.

Ecorys has investigated the impacts of 4 high water measures in the Rotterdam Rijnmond region, assessing:
- The expected growth of volumes and traffic
- Size measurements of the infrastructure to be considered
- Impacts on the competition between ports (e.g. not only between Rotterdam and other seaports, but also between the various basins within the port)
- Consequences for the modal split of hinterland trades (including routing of IWT from the port to the hinterland, and the shift to rail or road transport)

The findings of the study contribute to the further search of optimal packages to both counter climate change risks and maintain the economic functions in the region as much as possible. Such data can be the input to further work including cost benefit analysis.


Association for European Transport