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COUNTRY REPORTTHE NETHERLANDS


have been doing. And obviously we at Mammoet understand this and have been trying to reduce our own carbon footprint in the way we work.” For instance, Mammoet uses


cleaner-burning Shell gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel to power all its cranes and trucks in the Netherlands, and it is switching from hardwood to sustainable bamboo jacking beams across all its operations. “But this new ruling could potentially


have a big impact on the projects that our customers run here. And it applies to everything – even wind farms or railway projects, which would traditionally be seen as helping reduce a country’s carbon footprint.” There is another issue. The country’s soil


has been contaminated by chemicals and commentators are saying that there are very few areas that are unpolluted, according to the strict criteria that have been set. “The issue is that this ‘contaminated’ soil is


not allowed to be moved to another location so this is really difficult if you are planning to build some infrastructure or housing. It even means that canals and other waterways cannot be dredged,” van Vuren explained. “Luckily, projects that have already


started will be allowed to finish, but all new projects need to have an environmental impact report and depending on that, you may or may not get the permit to start work. “This already has had a big impact on the


country’s productivity and we will probably see more of the effects in the coming year. We cannot predict where this will go.”


Economic crisis The employers organisation VNO-NCW and the association representing small and medium-sized business, MKB Nederland, say these measures may even trigger an economic crisis, or what they call a “self- organised recession”. Leendert-Jan Visser of MKB Nederland


said: “The blows are particularly noticeable in construction, but also in transport, inland shipping, dredging companies and earth moving operators – a broad spectrum with many thousands of companies.” Van Vuren said these problems have been


caused over many years and it is a very complex political issue. “The only way out is to have some sort of compromise. No one objects to less pollution or lower CO2


levels.


The ideas are good but the way they have been executed are not. “We cannot change our economy


overnight, even in the light of climate change. We all need time to adjust and change or it will hurt our economy, business and jobs,” he added.


128 January/February 2020 www.heavyliftpfi.com


delays, but companies are finding their way to obtain the right licences and they will therefore be finalised – and not be cancelled.” In terms of movements of heavy lift and


project cargo across the quays, business is remaining steady. “We have seen some decline in steel volumes due to the slowdown in the German automotive industry, but breakbulk in general is doing well.”


Wind energy potential He cites the wind energy industry as an area of growth and great potential, which is probably not surprising especially with the government’s ambitious CO2


reduction


A lot of companies in the port are active in this area [wind farms], and while much of this business is for North Sea wind farms, we also see more shipped to international destinations. –Twan Romeijn, Port of Rotterdam Autority


Despite all this, he remains optimistic for


both Mammoet and the country. “The Netherlands will somehow find a way as we are used to talking about things and finding a compromise.” Twan Romeijn, business manager,


breakbulk and offshore industry at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said it is true that the ruling related to PAS has made it more difficult to obtain a licence to start new projects. “Nevertheless, that is not to say it makes it impossible. “Looking at projects that are planned for


the port of Rotterdam (Porthos, Agrofoodhub, Breakbulk carousel, etc), we see a little delay due to the new regulation. Current development projects will face some


Projects planned for the port of Rotterdam are seeing little delay despite the new regulation.


targets, but other cargoes are not so obvious. “We have a lot of new barges and tugs


arriving from China and other manufacturing countries for towing into the hinterland for finishing, or some are finished here in Rotterdam and then they can go straight into operation.” Inland barges are increasingly seen as a


better option for many cargoes as they have a lower environmental impact than trucking, or even rail, and are considered a more sustainable solution for overland shipments. There is an increasing incidence of low


water levels in summer – and high water in winter – which can be a challenge for barge traffic, especially for heavier pieces, but Romeijn believes there are always solutions and alternatives that can be used. For instance, using specially designed barges that can continue to run even during periods of very low water. Offshore wind farms provide good


business for the port, with monopiles and other parts manufactured in it or nearby, while the port is also a hub location where project cargo is stored. “A lot of companies in the port are active


in this area, and while much of this business is for North Sea wind farms, we also see more shipped to international destinations.”


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