Rotterdam’s Gate Terminal Starts Construction of New LNG Bunkering and Break Bulk Facility

The new facilities are based on a multi-user service model, open to all interested parties, and will have a maximum capacity of 280 berthing slots per year.
The new multi-user facilities will have a maximum capacity of 280 berthing slots per year. Illustration: Gate terminal

Construction of a new LNG break bulk facility at the Gate terminal in Rotterdam kicked off this weekend with the ceremonial ground breaking.

The project involves the expansion of the Gate terminal, with main shareholders Gasunie and Royal Vopak Gate terminal, to include a new LNG break bulk facility that is expected to boost the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a cleaner and more affordable transportation fuel for ships, ferries and trucks across the Netherlands and Northwest Europe. The new facility will be located at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, next to the existing Gate LNG import terminal.

Construction starts with the excavation of a new harbor basin next to Gate terminal by the Port of Rotterdam.

The break bulk operations will split up large-scale LNG shipments into smaller parcels, enabling its distribution to various markets across Europe. The Gate terminal has been receiving overseas LNG shipments since 2011. The LNG is then stored, reloaded or regasified for the Northwest European gas grid.

“Gasunie, Vopak and Gate have jointly developed an innovative LNG break bulk concept upgrading the LNG hub capabilities of Gate terminal and enabling our customers to supply LNG as cleaner fuel for transport, shipping and industrial applications.” Allard Castelein, CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority: “We are striving to make logistics more sustainable and promote the transition from fuel oil to LNG as fuel for shipping. Furthermore, we want to strengthen our position as the most important European LNG hub.”

As part of the expansion project, the Port of Rotterdam Authority will build a new harbor basin and quay wall, which is planned to be delivered end of 2015. Gate will construct the LNG installations, including berthing and loading facilities dedicated to bunkerships and smaller tankers enabling LNG bunker operations in the port of Rotterdam and distribution of LNG in Northwest Europe. The new facilities are based on a multi-user service model, open to all interested parties, and will have a maximum capacity of 280 berthing slots per year. The finalization of the construction, commissioning and first loading operations are planned towards the end of H1 2016.

The use of LNG as a fuel is expected to grow substantially following the introduction of stringent new emission regulations (SECA) for the marine sector in the North Sea and in the Baltic Sea from 2015. By using LNG as a fuel, barges, coasters, ferries, as well as heavy duty trucks, can reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 20%, their nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 85%, while reducing sulphur and particle emissions to almost zero. For these reasons, the Dutch government and the European Union encourage the development of LNG as a transportation fuel. Surveys by the Dutch ministery of Economic Affairs indicate that the introduction of LNG as a transport fuel could also bring considerable economic growth and employment.

As a launching partner, Shell Netherlands has already committed to buy capacity from Gate terminal, and the company has recently ordered a specialized LNG bunker vessel, to supply LNG-fueled vessels in Northwest Europe. The new vessel will be based at the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and will load from the new LNG break bulk infrastructure.

“The new infrastructure will enable us to further improve our service to customers,” says Dick Benschop, president director of Shell Netherlands. “We expect LNG will form a bigger part of the transport fuel mix in the future.”

The project has also received co-financing under the European Union’s TEN-T programme