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  • 2022 April 28 17:13

    Merger of the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge creates Europe's largest export port

    In February 2021, the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges announced the launch of the merger process for their respective ports.

    Following the signing of the shareholders' agreement of the unified port company on 22 April 2022, the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge will operate under one name going forward: Port of Antwerp-Bruges, according to the company's release.

    Today, this unified port provides no fewer than 74,000 direct and 90,000 indirect jobs and with an added value of nearly €21 billion or 4.5% of Belgian GDP. 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.

    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, Port of Antwerp-Bruges 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.

    As a leading container port by tonnage - with 159 million tons/year - Port of Antwerp-Bruges aims to meet the need for container capacity due to global growth and recent developments in the international logistics chain. 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. Elsewhere, Port of Antwerp-Bruges continues to invest in strategic infrastructure including the Europa Terminal in Antwerp, as well as the New Lock and the Maritime Logistics Zone in Zeebrugge.

    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 Antwerp@C, 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.


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