Port of Rotterdam has announced construction of a new tug haven as part of its ‘widening Yangtzekanaal’ programme to accommodate expansion of the container terminals at Maasvlakte 2.

Boluda Towage, Fairplay and Svitzer are among the providers of shiphandling tug services throughout the port of Rotterdam’s expansive estate. There are different towing requirements however between the upper reaches of the port, such as at Waalhaven, near the actual centre of the city, and the huge container, bulk and petroleum terminals at Maasvlakte (one and two) on the coast.

Boluda's facility at Scheurhaven is one of several serving Rotterdam's tug fleets (Peter Barker)

Source: Peter Barker

Boluda’s facility at Scheurhaven is one of several serving Rotterdam’s tug fleets 

Dedicated tug berths are located throughout Rotterdam, including at Scheurhaven on the Rozenburg peninsular, Tennesseehaven and Prinses Margriethaven, but as the port has expanded westwards so tug berths have to follow to avoid excessive transit times. Boluda’s extensive location at Scheurhaven, for example, is around 15km (by water) from the APMT2 and RWG container terminals in Prinses Amaliahaven.

The ‘widening Yangtzekanaal’ programme involves expanding the canal, which was built in 2012 when the former Yangtzehaven was dug out, connecting the new harbours at Maasvlakte 2, including Prinses Amaliahaven, Prinses Arianehaven, Prinses Alexiahaven and other harbours, with the open sea.

An extra 2,400m of container terminal quay wall is being constructed in Prinses Amaliahaven, which will increase traffic significantly in the Yangtzekanaal. The Euromax container terminal is also on the north side of the canal.

The Port Authority therefore intends to widen 1,400m of the Yangtzekanaal to the west of the existing Antarctica quay before 2030 by constructing a quay wall with waiting berths for inland shipping. Work will also include dredging to increase water depth.

For the additional tug berths, the canal will be widened on the south side over a length of 500m to accommodate 12 berths. A recent consortium comprising Hakkers, Van Oord and De Klerk signed contracts with Port of Rotterdam Authority to build the tug quay.

The choice of the consortium is in line with the authority’s commitment to sustainable port development, with Hakkers, Van Oord and De Klerk making construction more sustainable by using electric equipment, thereby reducing CO2 emissions during construction.

“The consortium has also demonstrated that they add a lot of value through the measures offered to prevent disruption and damage,” the port said. Construction is due to begin later in 2023 with completion scheduled for spring 2025.