The Directorate – General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority have unveiled their plans to dredge the Nieuwe Waterweg and the Botlek in the spring of 2018.
A tender for this dredging scheme, set to last around six months, was issued earlier this week.
The work will involve a significant amount of dredging work along a 25-kilometer stretch of waterway between Hoek van Holland, the Benelux Tunnel and the Botlek Port.
“Medium-sized tankers and dry bulk carriers are getting bigger. The deepening will allow the New Panamax and Aframax ships to navigate the Nieuwe Waterweg without any restrictions,” according to Willy Dekker, Network Director at Rijkswaterstaat.
“To maintain the vitality of port industry in the Botlek, we need to invest in the preservation and renewal of this old port area,” said Ronald Paul, COO at the Port Authority.
The deepening will encompass three different contract depths.
The depth of the Botlek will go from ≈ 14.5 m (New Amsterdam Water Level (NAP)) to ≈ 15.90 m. Along the Nieuwe Waterweg, the first stretch from Hoek van Holland to Maassluis will de deepened from ≈ 15m to ≈ 16.20m.
The second section up to the Benelux Tunnel will have a guaranteed depth of ≈ 16.40m. It used to be ≈ 14.5m.
The additional 20 centimeters are connected to the lower salt content in the Nieuwe Waterweg which means ships need a greater water depth.
After the deepening, ships with a draught of 15 meters will be able to sail into the harbor under normal circumstances. Ships with a draught of 14.90 meters can already sail through the new Panama Canal, so New Panamax ships will be able to reach the Botlek without any restrictions.