Drones in the port of Rotterdam

Opportunities for port business

Drones are increasingly being used by companies in the Rotterdam port area, including the Rotterdam Port Authority itself. There are all sorts of possible applications: to monitor incidents and water pollution, for fire-fighting, surveillance and inspections, the supervision of port operations and security, monitoring damage, and inspecting installations at terminals. But drones can also be used for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and to monitor emissions.

In the future, drones will have a major impact on logistics chains and smart mobility. European regulations that came into effect on 1-1-2021 pave the way for new applications for unmanned goods and passenger transport. Fast deliveries of crucial production parts to vessels at sea and the safe transport of people to drilling platforms are within reach.

Rotterdam, the safest port to fly

To make this possible, the airspace will be prepared in stages for autonomous flights without a pilot on the ground. Flights over cities, with packages and, in the long run, unmanned flights with goods and passengers will become possible. The Port Authority is working with government and market parties to organise the airspace above the port in such a way that everyone can use the available options safely and quickly.

Drones and the Harbour Master's Division

The Harbour Master's Division will also be using drones more and more in the future. Drones make it possible to set up berth facilities properly for users. They can also be used to help patrol boats and inspectors on supervision work.

A resilient port

Drones open up numerous options but they can also be used in ways that are less welcome and that involve risks to safety and security: to take unwanted photographs of people, for example, or for espionage involving reading screens or other industrial espionage, making preparations for criminal activities, drug crime, smuggling or possibly even terrorist activities. We are talking to a large number of authorities about preventing nefarious activities like this in the port.

Flying in the port area

Open category

No permit is required for the open category.
However, drone flights in the open category are not permitted in the port area.
The port zone map showing these areas can be found on rijksoverheid.nl/drone.

The zone boundaries have now been included in most drone pre-flight apps. In time, it will become mandatory to program drone zones in the software of unmanned aircraft systems. The software makes it impossible for drones to fly into a restricted zone.

Specific category

A permit is mandatory for the specific category.
This category is subject to more stringent requirements such as training and certification. It includes most corporate drone applications.
Drone operators may use a drone in the port if they have received approval from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). The rules and procedures can be found on the ILT website.

Where can you report a drone incident?

It is important to report incidents involving a drone to the police. They can take action if there has been an offence involving a drone, or if a drone has been causing disruption.
Call 0900-8844 and provide as much information as possible about the location, the drone and the pilot.

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