Cases of Success

Weather forecast for the Port of Rotterdam

6 months ago
5 min

Weather affects every aspect of port operations. Ships and ports have very tight schedules and delays due to weather can cost thousands of dollars per day. Extreme weather conditions can topple stacks of containers, interrupt navigation, break cables, cause accidents, among other risks to port operations.

Therefore, monitoring sea and weather forecasts is essential to prepare for adverse conditions, take advantage of windows of opportunity, and avoid accidents and losses. But that's not all. Climate risk management includes knowing how environmental conditions behave in the location, systematizing operational limits and establishing responses for each case.

In this article, we analyze a 14-year record of wind data measured at a weather station in the port and show some benefits of using i4cast® as a climate risk management tool in the Port of Rotterdam.

1. The Port of Rotterdam

2. Wind conditions in the Port of Rotterdam.

3. Wind forecast in the Port of Rotterdam

4. Benefits of climate risk management in decision-making and support for port operations.

1. Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam plays a crucial role in the global economy. Its strategic location, on the banks of the River Rhine, with direct access to the North Sea, gives it privileged access to the main European markets. In 2022 alone, the port received around 76 thousand ships and handled 467.4 million tons of cargo.

In addition to transport and trade activities, the Port of Rotterdam has also strived to be an example of sustainability and innovation. Becoming a dynamic hub that represents the convergence between history, cutting-edge logistics and commitment to sustainability.

One of the challenges in its continuous search for more efficiency and sustainability is associated with climate conditions. For example, the Port of Rotterdam rarely has its operations completely interrupted, however, intense winds can reduce the efficiency of operations.

2. Weather conditions in the Port of Rotterdam

In addition to weather forecasting, a climate risk management tool helps to understand the scenario in which operations are inserted and its variations throughout the year. In this context, we present an analysis of wind records measured by sensors in the Port of Rotterdam during the last 14 years, between 2007 and 2021.

The average wind speed during this period was 13 knots (Beaufort 4), with a maximum of 53 knots (Beaufort 10). Extreme events occurred mainly between January and February, during storms, such as Storm Eunice in February 2002, Storm Sabina in February 2020, and other storms that occurred in January 2018 and strong winds in January 2007.

Wind speed record at the Port of Rotterdam

The winds showed a very marked seasonality. The highest incidence of strong winds in the winter period (in the northern hemisphere) is evident when we take monthly averages from this record, with the highest monthly averages observed between November and February and the lowest between April and August.

Average monthly wind speed at the port of Rotterdam

Regarding direction, the winds were well distributed throughout the period, with incidence from all directions. The main frequency of occurrence was in the south, south-southwest direction. Winds with a southeast direction had the lowest frequency of occurrence. The most intense winds, above 40 knots, come mainly from the west.

Wind rose at the Port of Rotterdam

Extreme events above 33 knots totaled 27 days during the period (2007 to 2021). However, we identified the occurrence of 445 accumulated days of winds above 23 knots (Beaufort 6), which have already initiated restrictions on operations at the Port of Rotterdam.

Those 445 days equate to more than a year of reduced efficiency due to windy conditions.

Another interesting point in this analysis was the increase in the occurrence of strong winds in recent years. All records of wind speeds above 48 knots (Beaufort 10) occurred from 2015 onwards. This may be associated with the growing trend of extreme events associated with the climate crisis.

4. Wind forecast in the Port of Rotterdam

After analyzing historical data and systematizing operational limits and responses to different situations, it is time to monitor weather conditions and follow forecasts.

At this point, it is important not only to understand how sea and weather forecasts work, but also to have access to the forecast that best meets your needs — preferably on a climate risk management platform.

On i4cast®, for example, it is possible to monitor the evolution of sea and weather conditions, using real-time data and analyzes such as the one presented in the previous topic. Record operational limits in response alerts based on impact and risk and record incidents to increase situational awareness.

In addition to these and other tools to support decision making, i4cast® has a high-resolution sea and weather forecast specialized for the port region.

weather forecast performance at the port of Rotterdam

When comparing i4cast® hyperlocal forecasts with the Dutch government's leading free, high-quality forecast provider from August 2022 to May 2023, we observed that the i4cast® wind forecast for the Port of Rotterdam performed better. For example, for wind speeds above 27 knots (Beaufort > 7), i4cast® achieved the following hit rate increase:

+ 17.7% higher hit rate with 6 hours of prediction.

+ 29.2% higher hit rate with 3 hours of prediction.

The forecast hit rate is calculated by dividing the number of hits by the total number of hits and misses in the forecast. It indicates the probability of the forecast being correct, which translates into confidence in decision making..

5. i4cast® at the Port of Rotterdam

For the implementation of i4cast® in Rotterdam, we analyzed all publicly available climate models and selected the best results — with a strong emphasis on The Netherlands National Institute for Weather, Climate and Seismology Knowledge, the KMNI.

i4sea adds to KMNI's excellent service by developing solutions with our proprietary high-resolution model to tailor high-quality regional forecasting to the specific hyperlocal needs of the Port of Rotterdam.

Based on an extensive volume of data measured by sensors, we apply artificial intelligence techniques to increase the accuracy of predictions and the frequency of updates.

By increasing the forecast update frequency from every 6 hours to hourly updates, we provide the user, every hour, with the most up-to-date information possible to support their decision making in each specific location in Porto.

In practice, this means more assertive planning, greater safety and efficiency in operations and, therefore, greater competitiveness for the Port of Rotterdam.

An example of what we were able to observe with the use of i4cast® in the productivity gains at Santos Brasil and the gains in safety and planning at Vattenfall in the North Sea.

To discover the benefits of i4cast® in your operation, request a trial

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Mariana ThéveninBusiness Intelligence and Marketing Leader
Passionate about the movement of the ocean, Mariana is an oceanographer and a master in physical oceanography. She comes from more than 5 years of experience in science disclosure to create high-value content that shows the importance of proactiveness in climate security.
Passionate about the movement of the ocean, Mariana is an oceanographer and a master in physical oceanography. She comes from more than 5 years of experience in science disclosure to create high-value content that shows the importance of proactiveness in climate security.

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