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Maasvlakte 2, Case Study Ambition Group

On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, then Her Majesty Queen Beatrix marked a historic moment by closing the 11-kilometer-long seawall of around 2,000 hectares of new land through a festive ceremony. This colossal infrastructure project, budgeted at €2 billion, employed 20,000 individuals and was completed a year ahead of schedule while staying within budget. We're talking about Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam. But how was this remarkable achievement made possible?


The Maasvlakte 2 was born out of the belief that a new area was necessary to secure the competitive position of the Port of Rotterdam. Ships are becoming increasingly larger and require deeper berths. The Port of Rotterdam believed it must be able to expand in step with other international ports to maintain its competitive edge.

Maasvlakte 2 aerial view
Maasvlakte 2
 

The Challenge

In 2004, the Port of Rotterdam once again approached its capacity limits. There was a substantial growth in container transshipment, and it seemed that Rotterdam would need to handle 12 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by 2010. However, there were concerns about large infrastructure projects often running late and over budget. The earlier Maasvlakte project, perceived as poorly managed, had only added to these concerns. The challenge was planning, financing, and executing a massive new project, Maasvlakte 2, worth billions of euros amidst these doubts and apprehensions.


The Solution

In June 2004, the Maasvlakte 2 project organization invited four consultancy firms to present their ideas on how to effectively manage such a substantial project to resolve doubts and reassure stakeholders. Richard Moret advocated using the PRINCE2 project management methodology. This approach provided a methodology that could be applied over several years and offered a clear governance and control model. Additionally, it was crucial to establish a common language within this complex multi-project environment.


Despite initial doubts about PRINCE2's suitability for such a large project, Maasvlakte 2 Project Director, Ronald Paul, decided to test PRINCE2 by using it to prepare the necessary project plan. PRINCE2 implementation began without formal training, and a team, led by Richard Moret, worked directly with the project team to implement the PRINCE2 process. They started by creating a Project Initiation Document (PID), which formed the basis for determining whether the project should proceed.


Het gebruik van PRINCE2, zonder voorafgaande formele training, ging gelijk van start, onder leiding van Richard Moret, werkte het team direct samen met het projectteam om het PRINCE2-proces te implementeren. Ze begonnen met het opstellen van een Project Initiation Document (PID), dat de basis vormde voor het bepalen of het project überhaupt moest worden uitgevoerd. Deze test werd succesvol bevonden.


"Project management according to PRINCE2 ensured the project stayed within budget and on time."
 

Ronald Paul, Projectdirecteur van Maasvlakte 2



The Result

The use of PRINCE2 brought structure, discipline, and clarity to the Maasvlakte 2 project. It reduced the time needed for project planning and delivery while keeping the project within budget. The result was that Maasvlakte 2, with an estimated cost of €1.9 billion, was delivered significantly under budget at €1.55 billion and a month ahead of schedule.


"Project governance was one of the key factors for the success of the project. After three and a half years of hard work, the seawall closure is a milestone in Dutch history. The seawall surrounds Maasvlakte 2, protecting 2,000 hectares of new land."
 

Hans Smit, CEO van de Haven van Rotterdam



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