Our task is crystal clear: we aim to bring the Port of Rotterdam in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives. In partnerships with companies, we are working towards a CO2 neutral port. With this we mean that we have a port with an industrial landscape that has no net negative consequences for our climate.

This demands radical innovation and new technologies. These will be developed and tested in pilot projects. In the meantime, we are already taking measures to reduce emissions as far as possible in the short term, such as the plan to store CO2 below the sea bed in the coming years.

This will give industrial sectors sufficient time to implement more structural changes in business processes and will prevent any unnecessary value destruction. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is pleased to take a steering role in two important tasks:

What we are aiming for

Global warming is a huge challenge for the world. Emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane need to be reduced significantly. It was agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce global warming to a maximum of 2 C°, and preferably 1.5 C°. Some 200 countries support this agreement. The Netherlands also signed this agreement. To meet the agreement in practice, the cabinet aims to have cut the emission of greenhouse gases by 49% and preferably by 55% in 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Emissions must be reduced by 95% by 2050. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is adhering to the same objectives as the national task. Industry emissions in this area were almost 20% of our country’s total emissions. This means that Rotterdam has a lot to offer for the climate. In partnerships with companies, we are working towards a CO2 neutral port. With this we mean that we have a port with an industrial landscape that has no net negative consequences for our climate.

Opportunities for a strong competitive position

The challenges of the energy transition offer opportunities to make the Port of Rotterdam an excellent example at global level. We will succeed in this if we do not see the energy transition as the end of an industrial age, but as the start of a new and sustainable economy. It is exactly here, in the Port of Rotterdam, that we can realise the energy transition. The available industry and knowledge means that all the ingredients for leadership in this sector are readily available.

The energy transition is achievable with a common, area-focused approached. The energy transition is too big for one company or organisation. Cooperation is the keyword and scale is a condition. That is why we are building coalitions to help existing industries to innovate and to welcome new, sustainable companies. If we succeed in this, the business climate will also improve. And that, in turn, will attract new industries, jobs and innovation.

Scenarios for a CO2 neutral port

In 2017, the German Wuppertal Institut conducted researched into whether a CO2 neutral port is feasible in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Industrial Cluster

The task for the Rotterdam industrial cluster is considerable and complex. From 2030, the industry for energy consumption and production processes needs to switch from fossil fuels to an entirely new system. A radical transition is needed for this, for which we already need to take the necessary steps. For example, by handling energy more efficiently in combination with the capture and underground storage of CO2.

What can we do?

Wuppertal indicates that industry can achieve a total of 98% CO2 reduction. Various transition routes have been defined for this. A combination of various routes is needed to achieve the objective.

Closed carbon cycle

This route focuses largely on closing cycles. Fossil fuels will still be used, but only for products, and these will almost all be fully recycled.

Biomass and CCS

Biomass and Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) relies heavily on capturing, storing and reusing CO2, combined with biomass as raw material for the chemical industry.

Technological progress

This route offers a reduction of 75%. The most important elements in this are the large-scale capture, use and storage of CO2 and further technological development.

Business as usual

This scenario will not result in any sharp reversal in trends. The ‘best available technology’ will make industry more efficient and will result in lower CO2 emissions. The expectation is that production will also be reduced in line with the reduced demand for fuels. The result will be 30% lower CO2 emissions by 2050.

Transport and logistics sector

Wuppertal Institut was commissioned by the Port Authority to conduct further research in 2018, This time into the CO2 emissions in transport and logistics sector. In other words: all shipping by sea and towards the hinterland with the Port of Rotterdam as departure or end destination. This involves the emission of 25 million tonnes of CO2 each year. With routes between, for example, China and Rotterdam, the majority (21.5 million tonnes) can be attributed to marine transport. If we do nothing, it is expected that CO2 emissions from shipping will increase by between 50% and 250% by 2050. Along the route towards climate-friendly shipping, Wuppertal has identified two important tasks for both maritime and hinterland transport.

Decarbonisation of maritime transport

In the short term, technical and operational measures can reduce CO2 emissions for the maritime industry. Efficiency measures in fuel consumption can result in a 20% to 50% reduction. In the medium term, we need to switch to electric propulsion, hydrogen and synthetic fuels such as methanol. LNG and biofuels can be used as transition fuel between 2020 and 2050.

Decarbonisation of hinterland transport

The same measures apply here regarding efficiency and the switch to alternative fuels. What can deliver an additional contribution is the switch from road transport to inland shipping.

7 development programmes

From strategy to implementation for a CO2 neutral port. The energy transition comprises many steps by many parties over a long period, through which we can work step by step towards a CO2 neutral industrial complex. Waiting is not an option! That is why we have initiated 7 programmes in which we develop projects together with partners. Over forty projects have now started. Our strategy is and-and: we help the existing industry to make drastic reductions in their CO2 emissions while also attracting new, sustainable industry.

  1. Economy with biomass as raw material
  2. Large-scale electrification
  3. Alternative fuels
  4. Energy efficiency
  5. Energy infrastructure
  6. Renewable energy
  7. Circular economy

Ongoing projects

There are currently over 40 projects in various stages of development. The Port Authority is applying a project funnel with strict criteria to develop concepts and ideas and to monitor realisation.

projecten energietransitie haven Rotterdam

Creating success together

Together with companies, knowledge institutes and governments, we have launched
CO2 reduction projects that will make the Port of Rotterdam a sustainable main port.

Energy in Transition Summit 2018

Watch the keynotespeech by Allard Castelein, presentation of the Wuppertal-rapport Transport and Logistics plus an update of our projects.


Would you like to know more about the energy transition in Port of Rotterdam? Contact:

Energie & Procesindustrie
+31 (0)10 252 1676

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