The Dutch Parliament voted
in favor of the construction of Maasvlakte 2, the new port district of Rotterdam. This gives the green light to the next phase: in 2007 a number of spatial planning and licensing procedures must be completed before actual construction can get underway in 2008.
A parliamentary majority also supported the proposal to construct the outer contour of Maasvlakte 2 in a single operation. This is an attractive option, both for environmental and financial reasons. It had been proposed earlier moving these sea defenses further out to sea in phases, in response to the need for industrial space. However, no-one in Rotterdam is concerned about market demand for space, so that the construction of the definitive sea defenses in a single operation is justified.
European legislation on air quality that came into force in 2005 has placed extra pressure on preparations for the Maasvlakte 2 project during the past eighteen months. Maasvlakte 2 will mean extra traffic and could therefore cause these limits to be exceeded even further. Before the subject of Maasvlakte 2 was debated in parliament, the Ministers of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (V&W) and Housing, Spatial Planning & the Environment (VROM) had announced a package of measures that could be introduced in phases if necessary to improve air quality in the region to such an extent that, when Maasvlakte 2 is in use, air quality in the region will not get any worse. The package includes an incentive scheme for cleaner engines for inland vessels and dynamic traffic management for road transport and inland shipping.
Two construction consortia are currently competing for the construction of Maasvlakte 2: Boskalis - Van Oord of the Netherlands
and Jan de Nul - Dredging International of Belgium
. The Port Authority expects to conclude a contract with one of these consortia in mid-2007. A contract was concluded with APM Terminals last spring for a container terminal.
In addition, there is currently an open tender process in progress for a container terminal.