Energy transition: towards an international port with renewable fuels and energy

We are seeing a shift in our energy system from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
This inevitably also has an impact on our Port, as we tranship coal and are the global market leader in the trade and blending of refined oil products. In order to remain an energy port in the future, we are looking for new types of cargo and new methods of generating a maximum amount of sustainable energy. We work together both with energy customers in the Port and with other partners throughout this process. Together, we are creating a sustainable international energy hub relevant to the new economy.

Energy Transition Liaison Femke Brenninkmeijer serves as Manager Energy, Cargo & Offshore at Port of Amsterdam.

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We have taken the following initiatives since 2015:

Smart grids

We use smart grids to create a new power system which is set to sharply increase the supply of sustainable energy at the local level and reduce the energy bills of businesses in the port area.

Solar and wind energy in the Port

We are investing in 100,000 square metres of solar panels (4 MW), a new wind farm in the Amsterdam port region (100 MW) and a sustainable battery in order to better balance the supply and demand of energy.

Leader in the energy transition roadmap

Businesses must be given the opportunity to adjust their investments on a gradual basis. We are working with the Port of Rotterdam, the other Dutch sea ports and the national government to create an energy transition roadmap.

Our goals and progress





Why we are investing in the energy transition

The Amsterdam terminals are among the cleanest in the world – but things can always be smarter, faster and cleaner. We are therefore investing substantially in sustainable growth and the production and storage of sustainable energy.

Port of Amsterdam is part of Europe's largest energy port hub (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp), making us a key link in the energy supply chain. The energy generated in our Port is used for the supply of heat and electricity. This energy is produced by customers in our Port and supplied directly to end markets and consumers.

The bulk of the energy is currently still sourced from fossil sources (coal, petrol and diesel).

However, it is both a necessity and our objective to be a port specialising in renewable energy sources. Our role in the energy industry is therefore twofold. We allow existing activities and customers to flourish, as well as nurturing new, sustainable initiatives. Wind and solar energy and biomass are new sources of value to both Port of Amsterdam and society at large. We are working with our customers to prepare for a role as a sustainable energy hub. We do this, among other things, by facilitating the smart consumption of energy in the area, for example through the use of smart grids and heat and steam grids.

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Meest gestelde vragen

The Amsterdam port region is a key international logistics hub specialising in the storage and transhipment of cargo flows such as energy products and agribulk. With its dedicated terminals, the Port also serves as an important hub for break bulk, RORO and cruises. The business climate is first rate, on account of the extensive and diverse supply of connecting locations. The Port is situated just 10 minutes from Amsterdam’s city centre, while Schiphol Airport is also located nearby. The Port provides excellent multimodal connections to the hinterland, including all the facilities necessary to provide customised solutions.

Customers are the Port’s backbone. We cherish our customers and intend to work with them and with new partners and customers to develop the Port further in the most sustainable possible way. The Port, the city and the region together make up the rhythmic system of stocking and removal, the circular waste and raw materials roundabout, and the battery function for clean energy. We firmly believe that the Port can always become smarter, cleaner and more efficient, offering a first-rate business climate, development and innovation, jobs and income, quality of life and circularity.

The Port is a significant player in the global fuel trade (petrol, diesel and kerosene) and the transhipment of coal (for the purpose of steel production, the manufacturing industry and electricity). We have seen strong growth in the transhipment of recycling products. In general cargo, offshore wind farms and containers, we aim to strengthen our position as a hub for the North Netherlands area. We are working on expansion and innovation in order to remain a competitive trading hub in the future. By investing now in sustainable energy flows and innovative technologies, we are building on our competitive position, now and in the future.

Yes, biofuels are produced in the Port from waste and residuals.

Yes, our Port is a leader in both agribulk and energy. This gives us – along with our customers – the infrastructure, knowhow and market channels we need for a successful energy transition. For example, the terminals in our Port are already equipped for the storage and transhipment of biomass and/or the addition of biofuels. Besides generating renewable energy, we also recover raw materials and energy from waste, basic waste flows and residuals.

Port of Amsterdam enables existing businesses to flourish and new companies to grow. Even our more established businesses are aware that they are part of a changing world. We actively engage with these companies to discuss their future. Where do they see opportunities for renewal and innovation, and how could this affect the port area? We encourage these businesses to be the cleanest and safest of their kind and to reduce their environmental impact to a minimum. In addition, we are also launching a system of smart grids (an energy marketplace) to substantially increase the supply of sustainable energy at the local level while at the same time reducing the energy bills of companies located in the port area. Port of Amsterdam and Port customers are jointly investing in energy-efficient transhipment technologies and in innovations such as LED lighting at terminals. We simplify and accelerate procedures for the application, renewal and financing of environmental and other permits. There is a strong focus on the storage and production of sustainable transport fuels in the port area, and the clean ships calling on our Port receive a discount ranging from 5 percent to 100 percent.

Based on the current scenarios, we estimate that it will take many more years before Port of Amsterdam is free from all fossil fuels. The targets set during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2015 have made today’s energy issues more up-to-date than ever. The UK government has agreed to close down its obsolete coal-fired plants. Naturally, the Netherlands is also investigating what action might be taken in order to support the climate targets set out in the Energy Convention. The national government is currently exploring additional measures to this effect in relation to the Energy Agreement.

Fossil fuels currently still account for a large portion of the cargo in Port of Amsterdam. We continue to support and facilitate our customers operating in this area in achieving their targets, as they are of importance to the Port and the surrounding area. The income generated by this type of cargo enables us to invest in new segments, which is all part of our efforts to establish a sustainable port by 2030.

Since we are aware that fossil fuels are finite, we decided as early as 2008 not to establish any new oil and coal terminals. This decision was made well before the wide public debate sparked by the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands. We are therefore actively investing in new forms of energy, the transition to a circular economy, attracting new types of cargo such as biofuels, and in the production and storage of renewable energy. We will also be investing heavily in solar and wind energy through facilitation, connection, by providing financial support and accelerating the energy transition process.

We regularly receive queries about ethical and sustainability aspects relating to cargo types, industrial companies in the Port, and the sustainability of shipping. We understand these questions as we have asked many of the same questions ourselves, so we are always pleased to engage in a public debate. In fact, we regularly communicate with environmental and interest groups such as Fossielvrij (anti-fossil fuel) and Bettercoal (seeking to improve conditions in the coal mining industry). This is why the Amsterdam Port Debate 2015 focused on energy, now and in the future. We continue this debate – and also take on this role – during follow-up meetings focusing on these issues.

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Femke Brenninkmeijer

Femke Brenninkmeijer

Commercial Division
Head of Department Energy, Cargo & Offshore
Team Energy
Tel: +31 6 518 98 412