Where great ambitions come together, great achievements can be realised. This is certainly the case for Rotterdam Offshore Port as the partnership between Sif Group and the Port of Rotterdam Authority proves.
In January 2017, the first section of the Sif Group’s quay was completed in the Port of Rotterdam and the Innovation was the first vessel to moor there, ready for loading the first monopiles. It was a remarkable moment, especially because it had only been two years since Sif Group and the Port of Rotterdam Authority sat down at the discussion table together.
In 2015, as demand increased for wind energy at sea, Sif Group, the market leader in the manufacture of foundation piles for offshore wind turbines, was on the lookout for a new production site. The required specifications: close to the North Sea to assemble the increasingly large foundation piles, also known as monopiles, and load them directly on board sea-going vessels. The perfect place was found at the Maasvlakte 2 in the Port of Rotterdam. Within 1.5 years of the first dialogue between Sif and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the first monopiles had been manufactured.
Offshore wind ambitions
‘Where there’s a will and ambitions coincide, major steps can be made in a short time’, says Jan Bruggenthijs, CEO of Sif Group. ‘It was important for Sif Group to have a manufacturing, storage and transshipment terminal close to the North Sea - after all, that is where the wind parks that we make the foundation piles for are springing up.’ Joost Eenhuizen of the Port Authority adds: ‘The Port Authority really wanted to get a foot in the door of the wind and other offshore industries; a key market for growth now that renewable energy sources are increasingly taking over from fossil fuels. And then things could start to move extremely quickly.’
The listed steel construction company Sif has built the business location of its Monopile Division on the 42-hectare site at Maasvlakte 2. One year saw the emergence of a coating hall and assembly hall measuring 500 x 50 metres, where Sif assembles foundation piles of 80 metres in length and 11 metres in diameter. The first piles were completed in September 2016.
Due to the type of vessels that are moored here, the Sif quays are the deepest in the whole port. The Port Authority constructed a 400-metre long deep sea quay for the handling of the enormous structures. It is an architectural masterpiece because this quay has to cope with the gigantic weight of both the monopiles on it and the offshore working vessels berthed along it. At 30 metres, the retaining height of Sif’s quay is the greatest in the whole port.
The entire factory premises went into operation in the summer of 2017; just two years after the parties had signed the contract.