Port of Rotterdam and SmartPort extend support to TU Delft Ports & Waterways professor

News - 21 January 2022 - Webredactie

Professor Mark van Koningsveld continues and strengthens existing lines of research

The Port of Rotterdam and SmartPort have extended their agreement with TU Delft for five more years to provide financial support for the professor Ports & Waterways. They are making a total of 1 million euros available for this purpose. Yesterday the new agreement was signed in Rotterdam by Jan Dirk Jansen (Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of TU Delft), Egbert van der Wal (Manager Port Engineering department of the Port of Rotterdam Authority) and Elisabeth van Opstall (Director SmartPort). 

In recent years, TU Delft has demonstrated that scientific research on port infrastructure, design and nautics provides important new insights. These new insights have led to an improvement in the functioning of the port. The Port of Rotterdam and SmartPort are therefore extending the support of the Ports & Waterways professor and his research group in order to continue to develop knowledge and expertise in the field of port operations and logistics. Furthermore this support helpts to meet the growing need for highly qualified professionals in these and related sectors. 

The field of Ports & Waterways is an important part of TU Delft's rich hydraulic engineering history and includes the design of canals, bridges, locks, breakwaters, quay walls and port sites. Partly because of the importance of hydraulic engineering knowledge for major port expansions such as the Tweede Maasvlakte, the Port of Rotterdam and SmartPort decided to actively support port research at TU Delft from 2011. 
Under the leadership of Mark van Koningsveld, who was appointed in 2018, the research group has grown. In addition to Van Koningsveld, there are also seven PhD researchers, two postdocs, a tenure tracker and various research staff. There is a fruitful collaboration with market parties and approximately fifteen young engineers graduate each year.

Image: Mark van Koningsveld

Climate change, energy transition and digitisation

In the next five years, the research group will focus on major challenges facing the sector, such as climate change, energy transition and digitisation. 
Van Koningsveld: "These are extraordinary times. In recent years, we have had to deal with extremely low water, in 2018, but also extremely high water, with the floods in Limburg in 2021. These kinds of events have a major impact on transport by water. It seems that climate change will result in more frequent and more extreme events. Not just in Europe, but worldwide. In addition, this sector will also have to take part in the energy transition. The maritime sector will have to prepare for the transition to 'zero emissions' and the use of other energy carriers such as hydrogen and batteries. 

The group is therefore studying energy consumption and emissions from waterborne transport and is quantifying the effects of policy measures and transition strategies. The researchers are also looking at sediment management for port accessibility and the future-proof design of quay walls and other infrastructure. "Of course, we also have to deal with advancing digitalisation and increasing attention to sustainability, which requires new skills our engineers have to develop," says Van Koningsveld. "In short, there is a lot to be done in the coming years and the support of the Port of Rotterdam and SmartPort is of tremendous help!"

About Van Koningsveld

In addition to his professorship, Mark van Koningsveld works as R&D and Innovation Manager at Royal Van Oord. He received his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Twente in 1998 and also obtained his PhD there in 2003. In addition to his work at Van Oord and TU Delft, Prof. Dr. Van Koningsveld is also a science representative. Van Koningsveld is also the science representative for the Top Sector Water & Maritime, in which companies, researchers, government bodies and civil society organisations work together on innovation in this important sector for the Netherlands. 

More information

See for more information about the field of Ports & Waterways at TU Delft:

About SmartPort

SmartPort is a partnership of the Port of Rotterdam, Deltalinqs, the Municipality of Rotterdam, Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology, TNO, Deltares and Marin. The knowledge hub inspires, initiates, forms alliances and finances scientific research for and by the businesses in the port of Rotterdam. 

For questions, additional information and/or interview requests

For questions to Mark van Koningsveld and/or more information about TU Delft:
Karlijn Spoor, Communication Advisor TU Delft
06-416 122 72 / k.spoor@tudelft.nl

For questions and more information about the Port of Rotterdam Authority:
Rick van de Weg, spokesman, Port of Rotterdam Authority
06-557 202 91 / ra.weg@portofrotterdam.com

For questions and more information about SmartPort:
Joan van Winsen, Communication & Event Manager
010-402 03 38 / joan.van.winsen@smartport.nl​​​​​​l