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Flying in the port area

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Drones may be used more widely in the future, provided safety is guaranteed. To enable wider applications, in the coming years airspace will be prepared in stages for autonomous flying, flying over cities, port and industrial areas, carrying packages and eventually unmanned flying with cargo and passengers.

The Port Authority is working with government and market parties to organise the airspace above the port in such a way that the possibilities can be used safely and quickly.

Open category

In the port area, drone flights are not allowed in the open category. The open category is the category not subject to licensing.

See the port area map where these areas are shown.

The zone limits are now included in most drone pre-flight apps. In time, it will become compulsory to program the drone zones into the software of unmanned aerial vehicles. The software makes it impossible for the drones to fly into a restricted zone.

Specific category

For the specific category, a permit is required. Most commercial drone applications fall into this category, which is subject to more stringent requirements such as training and certification. Providers of drone services must analyse the risks and demonstrably reduce them to an acceptable level.

Drone operators are allowed to use a drone in the port if they have received permission from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), based on the risk analysis. The rules and procedures can be found on the Website of ILT.

What these rules and procedures mean for the port area and how to apply for a licence can be found in the document below.

Permission for take-off and landing

If the drone takes off and lands from a public area, then the Port of Rotterdam Authority, as the land manager, must give permission for the use of that area for that purpose. Requesting permission involves a number of documents;

  1. Map or aerial photograph showing the exact location, x/y coordinates, from which the take-off will take place
  2. Operating licence or ROC
  3. Time period in which flight will take place
  4. Name of operator(s) including at least mobile phone number

Reporting to the Harbour Coordination Centre

Reporting flights with drones to the Harbour Coordination Centre (HCC). This notification is not intended to give permission, but to ensure that questions about the flights that come to the HCC can be answered in the affirmative. Planned deployment preferably 24 hours in advance by e-mail. Incident response by phone: +31(10) 252 1000. The information that is useful; where, when and for what purpose it is flown, which operator performs the flights and for which client.

Reporting a drone incident

Any nuisance caused by a drone can be reported to the local police. It can take action in the event of a violation or inconvenience caused by a drone. Is there a drone flying over your property, house or residential area? If so, provide the police with as much information as possible about the location, date and time, the drone and the pilot. Take a photo or video if possible. It is important that you report a drone nuisance. For the police to take action. And for the government to get a better overview of incidents involving drones.

If a drone is spotted flying illegally over the port area;

  • Call 112 in case of security issues or an acute security risk
  • Call the police on 0900-8844 or ILT on 088-4890000 if you suspect a violation
Police flying a drone

A resilient port

Drones offer many opportunities, but they can also be used for less good purposes and involve risks around safety and security. Examples include the use of drones to take unwanted pictures of people, espionage by reading (computer) screens or other industrial espionage, preparation of criminal activities, drug crime, smuggling or possibly even terrorist intentions. We are consulting with a large number of administrative parties regarding protection against these practices in the port.

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