Rotterdam Bunker Port

The port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest bunkering port, as well as one of the top three bunkering ports worldwide. Every year, some 11 million m3 of bunker fuel is supplied to vessels in Rotterdam. In Rotterdam, every imaginable fuel can be obtained in huge quantities: from HFO to bio fuels. In addition, Rotterdam is the first port in Europe where ships can bunker LNG (liquefied natural gas).

IMO 2020 ANALYSIS: Listen to the OPIS Podcast featuring Ronald Backers

Ronald Backers, business intelligence advisor at the Port of Rotterdam, recently spoke on the OPIS Crash Course podcast about the complex and varied changes the port is expecting from the IMO2020 regulations.
Rotterdam is one of the largest bunkering ports in the world – number one in Europe, in fact. Total volume is around 10 million cubic meters per year. Changes in the sulfur specifications will have a huge impact on bunker fuels at this port and on the refineries and the terminals associated with it. Backers offered some real-world perspectives and a look ahead beyond IMO 2020 in a recent podcast.

Rotterdam ready for IMO2020

New regulations from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO2020) will apply as of 1 January 2020. These regulations aim to significantly reduce emissions of sulphur oxides, which are responsible for atmospheric acidification. This means that sea-going vessels may only use fuels with a sulphur level of up to 0.5 percent as of 1 January 2020. 3.5 percent is the current permitted level. Our region is part of a ‘Sulphur Emission Control Area’ (SECA). Stricter regulations for vessel emissions have already applied here since 2015, but sulphur emissions of up to 0.1% are permitted. The new IMO2020 regulations will apply across the world outside the SECAs. The Port of Rotterdam is ready for IMO2020 and various options will be offered. Read more about the options:


The 'Timetobunker' application (previously known as the BunkerApp) is the tool for the electronic submission of planned bunkering.

More information about digital bunker registration

With five oil refineries and a wide range of available oil products, the port of Rotterdam is an attractive port to call on for ships that need to refuel. And moreover, since Rotterdam is a location for price-setting, bunker oil in the Dutch hub is cheaper than in most other ports. A large number of suppliers work from the port of Rotterdam, guaranteeing swift, reliable and safe bunkering at the best rates.

Check out the bunkering companies in Navigate.

The bunkering process in Rotterdam

Sea-going vessels can continue to load and unload cargo when they bunker at one of Rotterdam’s terminals. In addition to bunkering at a terminal, it is also possible to bunker at one of the special public transhipment facilities (buoys and dolphins). At one specific dolphin set, LNG transhipment has priority over other forms of cargo handling. Calandkanaal offers mooring for vessels with draughts of up to 21 metres and a maximum length of 380 metres.

Flexible and efficient bunkering at Rotterdam’s buoys and dolphins

Ships of all sizes can moor at Rotterdam’s buoys and dolphins – 24 hours a day. Among other things, vessels can call on these mooring facilities for bunkering, repairs, cleaning and lay-by.

Read on about buoys and dolphins

Quality and sustainability are top priority

Deliveries in the port are safe, efficient and ecologically responsible, and are handled by some 180 different (often double-hull) bunker ships. The largest vessels can transport over 13,000 tonnes at a time. As the organisation responsible for the port’s maritime management, the Port Authority ensures that the bunker fuel is transferred safely and correctly. A bunkering checklist helps suppliers to choose the right approach. At the same time, the Port Authority is a strong advocate of optimising bunkering lead times. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (a division of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) regularly inspects operations on behalf of the Dutch government.

Bunkering LNG

As a port, the only way to create room for further growth is to become a clean port. The Port Authority works to encourage more sustainable shipping. That is why the Port Authority is stimulating new, sustainable developments in the bunker sector – and taking the lead wherever possible. One of our initiatives in this area is encouraging the transition from HFO to LNG (liquefied natural gas) as a shipping fuel. Since 2011, vessels calling on Rotterdam can bunker LNG from a truck in Seinehaven. The Port Authority expects that in 2017, Rotterdam will gain a dedicated LNG bunker ship that allows sea-going vessels to take in LNG on the water.

Increase the reliability of the bunkering sector

Since April 2013 a sectorwide cooperation between the Port Authority, the Association of Dutch Tank Storage Companies (Votob), the Association of the Dutch Petroleum Industry (VNPI) and the NOVE (energy suppliers) is active. These partners develop even more safeguards for the quality and quantity of bunker deliveries in Rotterdam. Among other measures, this involves providing clarity as to which substances are not allowed in the supplied bunker oil. In addition, we are working to increase transparency and efficiency in the bunkering process. Select the link below to download up-to-date information on Rotterdam as a bunkering port.

Ships powered by biofuel

The port of Rotterdam is presently the scene of a two-year pilot project undertaken by GoodFuels Marine, Boskalis and Wärtsilä. These three companies are working together to offer ships the option of powering their engines with biofuel.


Would you like to know more about bunkering in the port of Rotterdam?

Maud Eijgendaal
Business Manager RoRo, Cruise & Bunkering
Ronald Backers
Business Intelligence Liquid Bulk

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