Proud of our industry

Column by Allard Castelein, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority

‘We should definitely be proud of our industry in Rotterdam. It creates new employment, is an important driver of our economy and produces items that we all use in our daily lives. You would expect our industry to be greatly valued as a sector. But actually, in discussions about the Climate Agreement, I’ve noticed that industry’s contributions aren’t always duly appreciated. Particularly when it comes down to who should foot the bill, a lot of people point towards the industrial sector without further thought.’

Press Photo Allard Castelein

Photo: Ernst Bode

“The Netherlands is an open economy. Most of our industrial production is destined for export. If the Netherlands were the only country to impose a hefty carbon tax, we would be shooting in our own foot. That’s why we need to adopt a higher carbon surcharge or tax together with other countries in Northwest Europe or even further afield. It goes without question that we need a higher carbon surcharge to successfully make the energy transition. Right now, industrial parties pay € 20 in emission rights for every tonne of CO2 released into the atmosphere. We need to raise this amount to € 50 or € 70 per tonne. This will make new technologies economically competitive and give further impetus to the energy transition.

Businesses in Rotterdam are prepared to invest in carbon reduction measures. But if their competitors in other countries don’t do so too, Dutch companies will literally be pricing themselves out of the market. The solution? To work together internationally to agree on a higher carbon surcharge, while simultaneously introducing a bonus-malus scheme in the Netherlands as proposed in the Draft Climate Agreement. In this scheme, companies that stay behind are ‘fined’ while companies that lead the way are ‘rewarded’. And meanwhile we need to invest in infrastructure that makes it easier for businesses to ‘go green’: heat networks, for example, carbon transport networks, offshore wind power and hydrogen.

The very fact that we have such a large, strong and efficient industrial cluster ensures that as far as the energy transition is concerned, Rotterdam has a very strong starting position.”

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