Research Programs

Research on ports and waterways concentrates on innovative & sustainable design and operation of ports & waterways, including its logistic chains. Overall port simulation models and detail models of the constituting elements were developed. And applications are carried out in the field of port and terminal planning. 

Research is often in cooperation with other faculties of the Delft University and with organisations such as for example the Port of Rotterdam, Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares, consulting firms and contractors. Focus during the research can be on inland navigation, capacity problems in terminals, lock complexes approach channels, port planning and design.

The Ports and Waterways section participates in several research programs:

  •        Port Research Centre Rotterdam – Delft (PRC) 
  •        RWS Inland Waterways
  •        IPOD
  •        DIMI

Furthermore, there are various PHD studies on going at the section.


PRC Delft University of Technology carries out research on topics which are relevant for the Port of Rotterdam (PoR). During the past years this generated very innovative concepts, such as the foldable container and the Floating Container Crane, which are presently being developed. But the program also gives opportunities for MSc-studies to be carried out at PoR.

RWS Waterways

Presently, inland water transport has to face changes due to increasing transport of cargo over water, a shift to more container transport, and changes in ship dimensions. Moreover, international developments offer challenges to connect European regions. Therefore, Rijkswaterstaat and TU Delft start to develop ideas how to maintain the functions and structure of the inland navigation system. Together their respective knowledge and experience will benefit future inland water transport. Rijkswaterstaat being responsible for the inland waterway system; and TU Delft as a knowledge institute. Also other parties will participate, such as the EICB as a representative of the users of the waterway network. The intention of the discussions is to realize a long-term cooperation which benefit inland navigation.


IPOD stands for Integral planning of Delta [SM-C1] . Deltas are the areas where urbanization and economic development take place rapidly and on a massive scale. However these areas are often vulnerable to flooding’s and the urbanization increases the pressure on the natural habitats in these areas. There is a worldwide demand for a planning method which can contribute to a balanced development between safety, ecological value, economic growth and quality of the living environment. IPOD is a research about the planning and design methods in the south-western Dutch delta. The research is a partnership between Erasmus University, Wageningen University, Deltares, Planning agency for living environment, H+N+S Landscape architects, MUST STedebouw, DHV, HKV and GeoNovum. The partnership is headed by Delft University of Technology by professor Han Meyer


DIMI stands for Delft Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative, and is a research involving different faculties of the Delft University of Technology. DIMI focuses on the research areas of water and transport related infrastructure and mobility. DIMI has four major branches:

  •        Safe & livable Delta Areas
  •        Sustainable Mainports & Hubs
  •        Safe, Efficient, Clean & Intelligent Transport
  •        Available & Sustainable Infrastructures 

The chair of Ports and Waterways does research under the branch of Sustainable Mainports & Hubs, the research is about the Port of the Future. In the long term plan of the port of Rotterdam it is included that the Port of Rotterdam wants to be the most sustainable port in the world. How can this be achieved and what can be expected of future economic developments.