Posted on April 26, 2023
New projects confirm the unified port’s commitment to tackling future challenges
The Port of Antwerp-Bruges says it has made good progress in its first year of unification, with new investments and projects planned to further enhance its positioning in Western Europe’s maritime landscape.
This Friday marks a year since the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge decided to merge under a single banner, thereby increasing its scale and its political and economic clout.
The port said the integration process for transforming the various digital applications into a single system is well underway.
“After one year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is still in transition and evaluating its processes and systems non-stop. A merger is a long-term project and involves some major challenges – technical, operational and human,” the port authorities said.
“Port of Antwerp-Bruges can look back, as well as forward, with satisfaction. The port platforms – and especially the people behind them – have joined forces, helped shape the merger story and made it happen.”
Among other benefits, the merger has improved container handling, shifting volumes from Antwerp, which was operating at full capacity, to Zeebrugge.
It has also allowed both ports to address common challenges such as the current shortages in the job market. Port of Antwerp-Bruges recently launched a joint website that reaches a broad Flemish audience, boosting the competitiveness and attractiveness of the port authorities in the job market.
Dirk De fauw, mayor of the City of Bruges and vice president of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, said: “The merger is a win-win and an added value for both Zeebrugge and Antwerp. Now, a year after the effective merging of the two ports, we see this very clearly in the figures.
“This added value was also evident in their joint performance abroad, which was much appreciated by the port clientele, such as the princely missions to the UK, the US and Japan, and the visit of the King and Queen to the port of Duqm in Oman.
“I am convinced that this feeling will only accelerate and intensify in the future. We have a port here that we can be proud of, because we are the first world port that has an ambition to reconcile economy, people and climate.”
Annick De Ridder, port alderwoman of the City of Antwerp and chair of the Board of Directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges commented: “Our merged port is a world port that is ensuring sustainable growth and economic prosperity.
“It harbours great ambitions, while facing great challenges. Those challenges we successfully faced together in the ‘birth year’ with resilience and agility. Meanwhile, the merger of the highly complementary port platforms is proving its added value in practice.
“Our merged port is the economic engine of Flanders. And that engine keeps running thanks to all the hard work of all the employees, both on the Antwerp and Zeebrugge port platforms.”
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, said: “After one year, we are not only one port. Today, one year later, I also see in the workplace every day how we have grown into one cohesive management and one cohesive team.
“The fact that we thus form one port together, which is also holding strong in geopolitically and economically challenging times and during the energy crisis, can also count on a great deal of international resonance.”