Innovation 02-02-2024
Blue economy, Energy Transition

Nautical annual figures 2023 Port of Rotterdam

  • Safe year, fewer vessels, no serious accidents, increase in minor accidents
  • Harbour master wants ‘cycle path’ for pleasure boats on the Nieuwe Maas
  • Municipality’s sustainability ambitions take centre stage in 2024


Last year, the number of sea-going and inland vessels calling at the port of Rotterdam fell significantly, from 29,029 to 27,886 and from 97,459 to 89,183 respectively. There were no serious accidents and the number of other accidents increased from 137 to 159. The Nautical Safety Index, which measures the level of safety, rose from 6.39 to 7.51. State Harbour Master, René de Vries, looks back on a safe year, but the number of incidents involving passenger and recreational vessels continues to require attention.


De Vries welcomes recent recommendations from the Dutch Safety Board to give extra protection to the most vulnerable users of the port – passenger and pleasure boats. “We see that the city region’s waterways are being used more and more frequently. We are doing our best to influence the behaviour of pleasure and passenger boats. But that is not enough. We have been talking to the Ministry for some time about creating separate waterways – including the ‘cycle path’ – for recreational and passenger boats. It would be good if we could come up with concrete measures for the Nieuwe Maas this year.” The Nieuwe Maas is a major waterway in the Netherlands. Such measures would have to be taken by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.



The number of spills/leaks reported this year rose to 218. Normally, around 180 spills are reported each year. The abundant rainfall in recent months is partly to blame. Around 20 percent of the reported water pollution comes from the coast.


From 1 January, this figure will become a critical performance indicator for the harbour master. In the meantime, the registration of spills has been significantly improved, so that the causes can be better identified and the figures influenced by additional monitoring. The Harbour Master Division is in discussions with some terminal owners to reduce water pollution.



The harbour master supports the municipality’s sustainability ambitions and is committed to the energy transition. The harbour master is satisfied with the use of shore-based power in the city centre, especially along the Noordereiland and the Maashaven, where it is well used. In the western part of the port, the shore-based power is hardly used at all. The Port of Rotterdam Authority will introduce a generator ban here too but is still consulting with client representatives.


Last year, for the first time, a container ship running on methanol filled its bunkers with biomethanol. This marked the successful completion of a long process of preparing vessels for the use of methanol. Methanol bunkering has now become a normal activity in Rotterdam. Meanwhile, preparations have begun on vessels which will run on ammonia. The harbour master expects the first ammonia-powered vessels to arrive in the port in 2025. They will only be able to bunker here if they can do so as safely as when bunkering LNG (liquefied gas) or fuel oil.


In the ports of Rotterdam, Schiedam, Vlaardingen, Maassluis, Moerdijk and Dordrecht, sea-going vessels can deliver all types of ships’ waste. The waste is then transported by truck or inland shipping to approved waste processors. The Port of Rotterdam Authority has recently amended the port waste plan. The duty to deliver now applies to all ship-generated waste. The aim of these changes is to provide the greatest possible incentive for the delivery of waste (including fishing gear and waste caught passively). Vessels pay the fees through the mandatory waste fee under the General Terms and Conditions.


Focus on the port

Gone are the days when the sea patrol vessels RPA 15 and RPA 16 went out to sea every day to escort deep draught vessels – vessels that have to navigate in the Eurogeul because of their draught. Until 1 January, the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s seagoing patrol vessels only went out to sea to escort special transports and incidents. That is not enough to establish a routine. “This year, we won’t be going out any more. We can use the capacity that frees up for our work in the port,” says René de Vries.


Source: Port of Rotterdam