Reclaim our Voice

The City of Rotterdam has declared Climate Emergency. The Netherlands has agreed to the Paris Agreement. The two shareholders of the Port Authority are public, democratic institutions. Yet, the decision-making process frequently excludes the municipality and fails to prioritize the public interest. The Port Authority, the City of Rotterdam and the Dutch government are sacrificing long-term climate effects and citizens’ health for competitiveness and attracting multinationals.

Our demands: A Port for the People

  • We demand the national and municipal governments take responsibility and act in line with the societal duty to protect citizens’ health and keep our land habitable by combating climate change.
  • We demand legislation is made to force all companies from the port that to act in line with the Paris Agreement; unwillingness to do so means exclusion from the port.
  • We call for the city council to democratize decisions about the port’s sustainable transition by organizing a citizen’s assembly.

Behind smoke screens: The Port Authority prioritizes business(-as-usual) over citizens

  • The port is managed by the Port Authority, a 100% public organization. The shareholders of the Port Authority are the municipality of Rotterdam (70.8%) and the Dutch government (29.2%). As these are public, democratic institutions, management in line with the public interest could reasonably be expected. However, the actions of the Port Authority do not meet these expectations.
  • The EU and NL governments’ goals to stay within the 1.5-degree limit are significantly insufficient. Globally, governments have committed to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, with a maximum of 2 degrees of warming. We are heading towards a global warming of 2.7 degrees.
    In 2005, Rotterdam aimed to halve CO2 emissions per 2025 (compared to 1990). CO2 emissions are now the same.
    The Port does support the 1,5 degree target, but doesn’t seem to realize what’s necessary to stay within this planetary boundary.
    The port of Rotterdam has known for decades that it has to kick the habit of fossil fuels. But so far that has failed. The billion-dollar profits, especially those of recent years, blind energy companies and container terminals to the ‘disastrous effects of the use of fossil fuels on the climate’.
  • Concrete and significant investments in sustainability are lacking. The port sticks to uncertain plans and a familiar strategy: growth. There is no scientific evidence that this growth can remain within planetary boundaries. Investments in the sustainable development of the Port of Rotterdam are not transparently evaluated against the impact on planetary boundaries (or other conditions concerning climate goals) nor are there governing-rules to reject investments if these boundaries or conditions are not respected.
  • The growth of the port aligns with a strategy that the Dutch government has chosen for decades. As long as they continue to heavily invest in larger and more modern infrastructure, goods will keep flowing into Europe. (Source: Vers beton; Vers Beton)

Our Demands

1. Reclaim Our Future

Time is not on our side. We demand the end of the Fossil Port by 2030. The Netherlands must awaken to the climate crisis and strive for climate neutrality within this decade to keep global warming within the 1.5-degree Celsius limit. This future is incompatible with the continuation of fossil port activities. The Port must chart a new course towards transparency, ceasing all fossil activities, and focusing on real solutions that reduce CO2 emissions.

2. Reclaim Our Jobs

We demand security and prosperity for all port workers. Green jobs must be the bedrock of our new economy. Companies that have profited from environmental destruction must bear the financial burden of retraining employees and creating new, sustainable job opportunities. This is the path to a just transition, ensuring protection and new prospects for workers in the green sector.

3. Reclaim Our Air

The air we breathe bears the toxic scars of port activities, affecting the health of every Rotterdam resident. We demand accountability, transparency, and restitution from those responsible. We demand solid measures to monitor toxic emissions, research into health risks, and compensation for the people of Rotterdam to rectify health damages and invest in local green infrastructure.

4. Reclaim Our Voice

The shareholders of the Port Authority must honor their societal duty to protect citizens’ health and combat climate change. The Port must abandon its unattainable green growth strategy, adjust its statutes to consider public interests, democratize decision-making processes and let citizen decide for their future. We reclaim the Port for the People of Rotterdam.