The European Investment Bank has formally agreed to provide the final part of EUR 900m overall funding to support investment by the Port of Rotterdam Authority in port infrastructure, of which Maasvlakte 2 is by far the most important.
The European Union’s long-term lending institution has funded land reclamation and construction of container and specialist facilities to expand port capacity at Europe’s largest port.
Funding agreements for the flagship infrastructure initiative were signed by European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer and Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Hans Smits and CFO Paul Smits during a visit to the Netherlands. The high-level European Investment Bank is in the Netherlands for meetings with the Dutch Finance Minister, senior government officials and business leaders.
“Long-term investment for infrastructure of European importance, such as Maasvlakte 2, is essential for ensuring sustainable economic growth on the continent. The European Investment Bank is pleased to have worked closely with the Port of Rotterdam Authority over many years to ensure that expanded port facilities provided by Maasvlakte 2 can benefit economic activity in both the Netherlands and elsewhere in north-western Europe.” said European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer.
“The volume of this loan together with its very long duration makes it the cornerstone of our investment financing. We invest heavily in the infrastructure of the port. Both last year and this year some EUR 500m, three quarters of which are spent on Maasvlakte 2. Our projects are business case based, but it takes a long time to reach break-even points for this kind of investments. That’s why this kind of funding is important for this kind of projects”, said Port of Rotterdam CFO Paul Smits.
Construction of Maasvlakte 2 started in 2008 and will expand capacity essential to meeting the growing demand for space in the years ahead and to allow the port of Rotterdam to maintain its leading role in Europe. Rotterdam port currently does not offer any space for further growth and efficient and modern port facilities in Rotterdam are of crucial importance to the Dutch and northwest European economy. Waterways, railway tracks, motorways and pipelines connect Europe’s largest port with destinations all over the continent.
The European Investment Bank is providing a long-term loan over 30 years, at attractive conditions, eliminating the need for the Port of Rotterdam Authority to refinance investment over the period and is the leading external source of funding for Maasvlakte 2. The port expansion project is on schedule. Two clients were already attracted before the land reclamation started. They will start operating their container terminals in the second half of 2014. The next phases will only be constructed when the market shows an interest in their development.
Dredging Today Staff, May 10, 2012; Image: portofrotterdam