Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wind Farm Disappointment as Port of Amsterdam Seeks New Opportunities

Also Simplification of Berth Location and Harbour Charges for Commercial Vessels
Shipping News Feature
NETHERLANDS – Officials at the Port of Amsterdam have said they are not fazed by the ruling by the Council of State that the Province of North Holland was within its rights in denying planning permission for the construction of four wind farms in the Amsterdam port area. The port had seen the proposed development as a positive move which would added 54MW of wind energy capacity in the port area’s Afrikahaven, Hornweg, Siciliëweg and Westpoortweg sections.

The port, together with the City of Amsterdam, view the port as the perfect environment for the installation of wind turbines. The construction of wind farms in the port area would likely not be met with the same type of objections as in other areas with less industrial activity. The two parties had appealed the decision by the Provincial Authority, as they believe that the terms set by the Authority for the installation of windmills conflict with the City’s autonomous status. In addition, the Provincial Authority’s policy diverges significantly from the national policy for onshore wind energy.

Despite this setback both the City and the port nevertheless remain optimistic about finding opportunities to expand wind energy capacity in the area. This is necessary in order to achieve the agreed target of 100MW of installed wind energy capacity in the port area (current capacity is 65MW). In order to reach the planned volume within the time frame set, both will continue to meet with representatives from the Provincial Authority and the central government in order to explore new opportunities together.

Staying with the port, it is expanding its existing cooperation with the municipality of Zaanstad with the introduction of a single service desk to collect Harbour Dues for both operations. Also, with effect from the New Year, river cruise ships will be able to reserve a berth in the Amsterdam-Zaanstad area through the same service desk.

This is part of ongoing efforts by Port of Amsterdam and the Municipality of Zaanstad to align and improve services to ships calling at the port area. An additional advantage for customers is that they will only be required to pay Inland Harbour Dues once when calling at the shared harbour waters, while the same exemptions, dispensations and discount rates apply throughout the area.

The Port of Amsterdam will be responsible for charging and collecting Inland Harbour Dues for commercial vessels and passenger ships in the shared area, and the partners will work together on scheduling berth occupancy for river cruises. The benefit of this approach is that it facilitates the process of scheduling reservations and distribution for river cruise ships.

The partners have been successfully working together for some time in a variety of areas, including maritime operations, area development (the HoogTij project) and quality of life (the HoorbaarMinder – noise reduction and eNoses – aptly about odour levels, initiatives) and Alderman for Economic Affairs and Tourism for the Municipality of Zaanstad, Dennis Straat, is delighted with the partners’ decision to start working more closely together, saying:

”This agreement will greatly improve the services we provide to vessel operators in the North Sea Canal Area. It also helps us to take advantage of the opportunities river cruises provide for tourism, and in addition we intend to attract new jobs, reduce the number of rules, and streamline procedures.”

Port of Amsterdam CEO Koen Overtoom was equally enthusiastic with the policy which simplifies matters for all concerned and commented:

”In expanding our partnership with Zaanstad, we will simplify the process of charging and collecting Inland Harbour Dues, along with the berth reservation process for barges and river cruise ships in our area. This increases the appeal of our ports to our customers and enables us to achieve our strategic objective of being a preferred port.”