Port of Rotterdam – Flood Risk Management Programme

Flood risk will increase in the port and the surrounding areas over the decades ahead as a result of climate change, and in particular sea level rise. The Rotterdam port area is located outside the flood defense system and in open connection to the North Sea, however it is currently well protected against flooding. The port area has been constructed several meters above sea level and is partially protected by storm surge barriers.

Our aim is to ensure that the port remains a safe place for business. Therefore, we started the Flood Risk Management Program in 2015. The aim of our program is to raise awareness among companies of the potential threats created by climate change and how, in partnership, we can manage the risk of flooding to an acceptable level together.

By considering various climate change scenarios, we developed adaptation strategies for coping with flood risk in collaboration with the companies and public organizations. We have mapped out the probabilities and consequences of flooding, assessed these risks with an assessment framework, specifically developed for our port, and listed and selected appropriate measures. Between 2015 and 2021 we have developed strategies for all port areas. The adaptation strategies combine preventive measures with spatial adaptation and emergency response and tailor each measure to specific characteristics of an area (e.g. with regard to flood probability, the different activities in the area, and area dynamics).

The development of adaptation strategies was done in close cooperation with a large number of companies and stakeholders. With the aim of Joint Fact Finding, dozens of workshops were organized in which potential risks were discussed and measures were combined into widely agreed adaptation strategies. Our approach has been innovative and will ensure that the port can easily cope with floods up to 2100 in an adaptive and flexible way.