Economic Cluster Maritime & Logistics
Thanks to the river delta on the North Sea and the excellent links to wider Europe, the port of Rotterdam has long been Europe’s largest port area, known as the ‘mainport’. It comprises two large business clusters: logistics companies (e.g. shippers and forwarders), and refineries and the petrochemical industry (with global giants such as Shell, Vopak, Esso and Chevron). The region ranks among the top-5 European locations for logistics and the chemical industry, and its transport sector extends well into the neighbouring province of Noord-Brabant. The mainport also has extensive links with the cradle of the Dutch maritime and dredging industry: the Drecht Towns area.
The mainport has a long-standing tradition in innovative water management. The latest water management technologies are developed and deployed here via cross-fertilisation with other sectors. The extensive hydraulic engineering and shipbuilding expertise has produced innovations such as the Dutch Delta Works and the Maasvlakte 2 port expansion project, which are applied worldwide. Dutch contractors now spread this knowledge and know-how from New York to Bangladesh. The same applies to the land reclamation technologies used for the Maasvlakte 2 and the islands of Dubai. Thanks to a tight-knit network of global companies (e.g. Heerema, IHC, Boskalis and Damen Shipyards), hundreds of creative suppliers and future-oriented education, innovations continue to be turned out at a rapid rate. These companies, affiliated in the Maritime Delta, also nurture further cross-sector connections, for instance with the aerospace industry.
The joint strategy of the mainport is to be the smartest port in the world. By means of the SmartPort partnership, the best researchers are teamed up with the most innovative companies in the port, working on new smart and sustainable port technologies, such as the use of residual heat in industrial settings. Delft University of Technology supplies the port with clean biomass-based technology. It is also currently working on 3D printing and on floating buildings.
Facts & Figures on Zuid-Holland's Maritime & Logistics Cluster
- Rotterdam is the gateway to Northwest Europe, annually serving 500 million consumers in Europe.
- Annual freight transfer at the Port of Rotterdam totals about 460 million tonnes.
- The port area has a total length of 42 km, covering 12,600 hectares.
- The mainport accounts for 87,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs, while the total maritime cluster comprises 43,000 jobs.