Contract to transit coal through Rotterdam port extended 25 years

The contract to transit coal through the port of Rotterdam has been extended by 25 years, despite objections from a majority in the Rotterdam municipal council and a number of environmental organizations, NOS reports.

Rotterdam is the largest transit port for coal in Europe. Coal comes from outside Europe, and is then transported through the port to, for example, coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands and abroad. European mass transshipment company EMO carries out the coal transhipment in Rotterdam. 

In November last year, the Rotterdam municipal council adopted a motion calling for a reduction in coal transshipment. According to the local politicians, the port must contribute to reaching the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Many experts agree that putting an end to coal use will reduce CO2 emissions significantly. The Rotterdam city council will debate this contract extension on Thursday.

In a reaction to NOS, the Port of Rotterdam Authority said that it was unable to stop the contract extension. "The contract that was concluded 25 years ago by the municipality gave the unilateral option to the company to extend the contract", CEO Allard Castelein said to the broadcaster. He doesn't regret that the contract was extended. "Companies also need certainty. Companies make hundreds of millions of euros in investments, so they need to have the certainty that if they have a business reason to extend such a contract, they can do so."

EMO reports on its website that the contract was extended, but refused to comment on the matter to NOS.

The port of Amsterdam is the second larges transit port for coal in Europe. This port informed coal transhipment companies that they have until 2030 to switch to other products, according to the broadcaster.