Rotterdam’s port area is effectively protected against floods. This is one of the conclusions of a recently-completed study that focussed on water safety in the port area: the Botlek Water Safety pilot project.
The project examined the impact of climate change with the aid of various climate scenarios developed by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. The Institute has forecast that the local sea level will rise by 35 to 85 cm (13 to 33 inches) in the period until 2100, which also increases the risk of floods in the port area.
While most of the port area is situated outside dikes, the port’s sites are elevated relatively high above sea level and are partly protected by storm surge barriers. Only under particularly extreme weather conditions will a small number of companies be affected by limited flooding.
The study shows that this does not create any significant risks for people living or working in the area. Most of the damage will be economic in nature. This damage comprises both direct damage to buildings, systems and other facilities and indirect damage resulting from business interruption or the sub-optimal utilization of the available infrastructure.
The Botlek area is of major economic importance and is home to a large number of petrochemical and chemical companies. The area serves as a hub for numerous supra-regional activities and offers hinterland connections via rail, road and water to Southwestern Europe. An extensive network of pipelines offers a safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly transport solution for a variety of liquid bulk, including crude oil and oil products. The companies set up in the port itself are also connected by pipelines, and Botlek is also connected by pipeline with key destinations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
In 2017, the Port of Rotterdam will be performing a comparable study for the port areas Waal-Eemhaven and Merwe-Vierhavens. Compared to other international ports, Rotterdam’s port offers exceptional water safety, it says.