A sustainable port

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, talks about a sustainable port: ‘I expect the energy transition to pick up speed.’

The Netherlands’ new coalition government appears to take a stronger interest in sustainability. What does this mean for the port?
‘It’s heartening to see that a whole chapter of the new coalition agreement is devoted to our climate and government plans to reduce CO2 emissions. One of the key pillars of this policy will be the capture and storage of CO2. We have been reviewing this technology for some time already in the port. The government’s plans can also give new impetus to the use of residual heat generated by local industry for heating homes in the greater Rotterdam area. Together, such trends give a major boost to an inevitable transition in the port area: from fossil to sustainable. I expect the energy transition to pick up speed – provided we arrive at solid climate legislation and create opportunities to finance the various transition plans.’

What is your opinion of the new government’s plans in general?
‘The coalition agreement shows that the new Cabinet is aware that the Netherlands operates in an international environment. For us as a port, it is very important that we are recognised and acknowledged all over the world as a productive environment for international business. I’m pleased to see that the Cabinet shares this position.’

Does the new agreement have any direct consequences for the port?
‘The new government has formulated a number of interesting ambitions – including for Rotterdam and specifically its port. Accessibility is of paramount importance to us. This means I am pleased to see that the agreement has reserved an extra 2 billion euro for investments in the road network. The key junctions in our region will be improved. The coalition agreement also pays attention to rail transport, for example. According to the Cabinet, the rates charged for using our rail network need to remain in line with those found in neighbouring countries. This will allow us to compete even more effectively with Germany, for example.’