Quay walls of the future

Research: 2015-2019

Sensors on quay walls provide data on the condition of the quay. With that information maintenance can be done more efficiently and at lower costs. The data also reveal hidden capacities, which allows more intense use of quays.



Many quay walls in the port of Rotterdam are at the end of their technical lifespan. Sensors in quay walls can provide data on their condition. This knowledge benefits the quay owner and the users. Maintenance of existing quays can then be done more efficiently. Thus, costs can be saved and hindrance and downtime can be reduced. The data also reveal hidden capacities which allow customers to better utilize current quays. Finally, the information provided by the sensors can be used in the development and improvement of future quay walls.


  • More quay capacity – The sensors reveal hidden capacities which allows companies to improve the usage of the quays.
  • Lower maintenance costs – The data obtained from the sensors show more precisely where and when maintenance is required. More efficient maintenance also reduces hindrance and downtime of quays.
  • Innovation of quay walls – The sensors provide data during the various life stages of the quay wall: design, construction, management / maintenance / use and eventually demolition. This shows, for example, how quays are affected by weight and pressure, water level, temperature and wind and weather influences. That knowledge can be implemented in the design guidelines (including paying attention to principles such as cradle2cradle and waste2value) which ultimately results in better quays for the customers.


  • 80% of the quays is at the end of its technical lifespan.
  • Is the quality of available data sufficient? There is a lot of raw data available about the condition of several quays in the port. To what extent is this data contaminated and if the contaminated data is removed, will sufficient useful data remain?
  • The data show the actual condition of quays. Can this form the basis for improvements of the design guidelines?


  • The maintenance costs of quays drop.
  • Better services for customers (short-term) – Increased capacity with current infrastructure for customers thanks to the discovery of hidden capacities and thus establishing a reduction of downtime and hindrance.
  • Better services for customers (long-term): Better information available for designing and developing quays and for making the right decisions on investments in quays.


DemoConsult, Plaxis, Port of Rotterdam Authority, SmartPort, Witteveen + Bos.
Knowledge partners: TU Delft. TNO, Semiotic Labs.

Quay walls of the future with sensors providing data

“The future inspector is a sensor”

N. de Kruijff

Asset Management Constructie, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam N.V.

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More information

Contact our project developer Dirk Koppenol for more information about these and other projects and how you can be part of the research partners.

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