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Antwerp and Zeebruge to merge into ‘super’ port

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The port of Antwerp and the port of Zeebruge have agreed to merge and operate under the name Port of Antwerp-Bruges, with the process expected to take a year to finalise.

The merger is expected to see the ports strengthen their position within the global supply chain and continue sustainable growth. Furthermore, the unified port will be more resilient to the challenges of the future and will take a lead in the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

The ambition is for Port of Antwerp-Bruges to become the world’s first port to reconcile economy, people and climate, the Port of Antwerp said in a statement.

The two ports handled 13.8m teu in 2020, with Antwerp recording 12m teu and Zeebrugge 1.8m teu.

The merged port will become one of the largest breakbulk ports and the largest port for the throughput of vehicles in Europe. Furthermore, the port will account for more than 15% of Europe’s LNG transited and it will remain Europe’s most important chemical hub. It will also be the largest port for cruise ships in the Benelux.

With a total throughput of 278 million tonnes per year, the unified port will be able to consolidate its leading position in the world.

Antwerp specialises in the handling and storage of containers, breakbulk and chemical products, while Zeebrugge is a major port for roro traffic, container handling and the transhipment of LNG.

“Our ambition to bring the two ports together is about much more than simply tonnage and teu, however. It will enable us to focus even more firmly on the transition towards a low-carbon economy and to continue our efforts regarding the digitalisation of the supply chain. The ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp are to a large extent complementary and working together will make us more resilient to external challenges,” said Annick De Ridder, port alderman and chair of the Antwerp Port Authority.

Antwerp Port Authority chief executive Jacques Vandermeiren has been nominated to be the ceo of Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

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