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Rotterdam harbour, Netherlands

January 15th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel, Switzerland and into France. In 2003 Singapore took over, and in 2005 Shanghai, as the world's busiest port. In 2006, Rotterdam was the seventh largest port in the world in terms of containers (TEU) handled.

The port's main activities are petrochemical industries and general cargo handling and transshipment. The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. In 2007, the Betuweroute, a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, has been completed.

In 1872, the Nieuwe Waterweg ('New Waterway') opened, a ship canal constructed to keep the city and port of Rotterdam accessible to seafaring vessels as the natural Meuse-Rhine channels silted up. The canal proper measures approximately 6.5 kilometers (4 mi) from the western tips of its protruding dams to the Maeslantkering ('Maeslant Barrier'). Many maps, however, include the Scheur as part of the Nieuwe Waterweg, leading to a length of approximately 19.5 kilometers (12 mi).

In the first half of the twentieth century, the port's center of gravity shifted westward towards the North Sea. Covering 105 square kilometers (40.5 sq mi), the port of Rotterdam now stretches over a distance of 40 kilometers (25 mi). It consists of the city center's historic harbor area, including Delfshaven; the Maashaven/Rijnhaven/Feijenoord complex; the harbors around Nieuw-Mathenesse; Waalhaven; Vondelingenplaat; Eemhaven; Botlek; Europoort, situated along the Calandkanaal, Nieuwe Waterweg and Scheur (the latter two being continuations of the Nieuwe Maas); and the reclaimed Maasvlakte area, which projects into the North Sea.

The construction of a second Maasvlakte received initial political approval in 2004, but was stopped by the Raad van State (the Dutch Council of State, which advises the government and parliament on legislation and governance) in 2005, because the plans did not take enough account of environmental issues. On October 10, 2006, however, approval was acquired to start construction in 2008, aiming for the first ship to anchor in 2013.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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