Rotterdam council votes to say goodbye to coal, but port says not yet

Oil and other storage tanks at Rotterdam port. Photo:

Rotterdam city council wants an end to the storage and transhipment of coal at the port of Rotterdam which is currently home to the biggest coal terminal in Western Europe.

The contract with transhipment company EMO is about to expire and a majority of city MPs have supported a GroenLinks proposal calling for the contract not to be renewed.

GroenLinks councillor Arno Bonte said that a new 25 year contract would not be compatible with the Paris climate agreement.

‘If we want to take the Paris agreement seriously, Rotterdam will have to say goodbye to coal,’ he said in a statement on the party website. GroenLinks expects the port to be free of coal by 2030.

However, the decision about whether or not to renew the contract is up to the port authority, not the council, and it has no plans for change.

Ending the lease contract with EMO means no steel can be made, port authority spokesman Sjaak Poppe told the AD. ‘No steel means no windmills which can make coal fired plants superfluous. It also means no public transport or bikes.’

Poppe said coal will have to be the answer until cleaner methods to make steel can be developed.

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