Botlek and Vondelingenplaat

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The Botlek and Vondelingen area is an area of great economic importance at regional, national and international level. Many chemical and petrochemical companies are based here, and it forms a hub for many supraregional economic activities with hinterland connections via rail, road and water.

Botlek and Vondelingenplaat aerial photo

An extensive network of pipelines provides a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly transport solution for liquid bulk, including crude oil and oil products. Pipelines link companies in the port, and the port is also linked by pipeline to important destinations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Maeslantkering (Maeslant Barrier)

The Maeslant Barrier, which is part of the Europoort Barrier along with the Hartel Barrier and the Rozenburg Dyked Area, lies in the area. At high water (New Amsterdam Water Level (NAP) +3 metres and higher) the barriers are closed to protect the hinterland and along with it parts of the port area. The Maeslant Barrier has a failure probability of 1:100. This means that in 100 closures, the barrier will on average fail to close on one occasion, for example as a result of a technical malfunction.

The direct link to the sea is from the Hartel and Caland Canals, on the southern and western sides of the area under investigation. Should seawater levels rise to extremes in the future, the water is able to flow from the Hartel and Caland Canals in the direction of the Nieuwe Waterweg, i.e. through the Botlek area. This could result in damage to companies and vulnerable infrastructure.

Tuimelkade (local dyke), which was constructed in 1996 when the Hartel Canal gained a direct link to the sea, also lies along the Hartel Canal. The Tuimelkade provides additional protection, but does not have formal status and is managed by the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

Results

The results show that in the event of possible flooding in the future, the damage will be primarily economic. This consists mainly of direct damage to buildings, systems and other facilities, and of indirect damage resulting from business operations being shut down and/or the infrastructure present not being optimally available for use. The risk of environmental damage is limited, and casualties are neglectable.

The indirect damage will in some cases extend outside the area. There is not only considerable overlap and interdependence between the various activities in the Botlek area, but also with the surrounding port areas and beyond, for example in the Schiphol and Chemelot regions. The economic damage will depend largely on where the flooding occurs and the type of company. The study has come up with a recommended adaptation strategy that consists among other things of preventive area measures, development of new sites in a climate-proof way and emergency plans to the scale of the company and area.

Safety

The port of Rotterdam aspires to be the safest and most efficient port in the world, and is working on this ambition constantly. This requires close cooperation, to promote which the port undertakes various activities.