Port of Antwerp-Bruges: Merger of the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge creates Europe’s largest export port

Post By : Rachayita Sidharth
Post Date : May 3, 2022
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The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge will from now on continue their growth trajectory under one name: Port of Antwerp-Bruges. At the extraordinary general meeting of 22 April 2022, the two cities signed the shareholders’ agreement of the unified port company.Hereon, Port of Antwerp-Bruges shares the concrete manifestation of its ambition – to become a world port that reconciles economy, people and climate – with the rest of the world.

Large-scale but sustainable ambitions

Europe’s largest export port, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges will also be the largest throughput port for vehicles, the largest integrated chemical cluster and one of the leading container ports in Europe.

The Port has the express ambition of becoming the first global port to reconcile economy, people and climate. The unified port plans to further strengthen its position in the international logistics chain, take a leading role in the energy and digital transition, and at the same time create sustainable added value for society as a whole. Not just for the area of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, but also for all possible stakeholders in the wider national and international region.

Strengthening the global position in challenging times

In the current geopolitical and macroeconomic context, the merger is a golden opportunity to put the Antwerp and Zeebrugge port sites, and by extension Flanders, in an even stronger position on the world map. Port of Antwerp-Bruges will capitalise on the strengths of both port locations and focus its strategy on containers, breakbulk, RoRo traffic and chemicals. More than ever, the Port will play a crucial role in major freight flows and reinforce its position as one of the main gateways to Europe. The unified port has also become Europe’s largest export port – with 147 million tons/year – making it a global heavyweight.

In parallel with the implementation of the Extra Container Capacity Antwerp (ECA) project, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is working on a ‘Container Plan 22-30’ to safeguard its competitive position. The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are largely complementary – for example, Antwerp has strengths in the handling and storage of containers, breakbulk and chemical products, while Zeebrugge is a major port for RoRo traffic, container handling and the transshipment of liquid natural gas. By working more closely together, the sustainable growth of the individual and combined market shares of both ports will be perpetuated.

Pioneer in hydrogen and CO2 reuse

Port of Antwerp-Bruges intends to anchor its position as a green energy hub and help shape the energy transition towards a sustainable future. The unified port will continue and extend its pioneering project for the capture, storage and reuse of CO2. Via [email protected], the first 2.5 million tons of CO2 will be captured from industry on the port by 2025. This CO2 will be stored and eventually reused as a raw material for a wide range of applications.

In addition, the combination of Antwerp’s position as the second largest petrochemical cluster in the world and the coastal position of Zeebrugge provides a unique opportunity to take a leading role in the roll-out of the hydrogen economy. ​ By 2028, Port of Antwerp-Bruges plans to have the capacity to receive the first green hydrogen molecules on its platform. To this end, it is working to expand terminal capacity for existing and new hydrogen carriers at both port sites. A hydrogen pipeline between the two sites and towards the European hinterland will ensure that the port area as a whole and, by extension, Belgium and a large part of Europe, can make use of this important carrier for renewable energy.

Finally, Port of Antwerp-Bruges will offer various peerless strengths in innovation and digitisation that will make the logistical chain not only more efficient, but also safer and more reliable. By combining forces and focusing on connection and collaboration, and thanks to strategic investments, Port of Antwerp-Bruges and, by extension, our society, will be able to meet the challenges of the future.

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