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Ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge Agree to Merge

Mike Schuler
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February 12, 2021

The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge have reached an agreement to join forces through the merger of the two ports.

The unification is expected to take about a year to finalize and, once completed, the ports will operate under the new name Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

The combination is expected to strengthen their position within the global supply chain and facilitate the transition towards a “low-carbon economy.” It will also build on each port’s strengths. Antwerp specializes in the handling and storage of containers, break bulk and chemical products, while Zeebrugge is a major port for RoRo traffic, container handling and the transhipment of liquid natural gas.

“The merged port will become the most important container port (157 million tonnes/year), one of the largest break bulk ports and the largest port for the throughput of vehicles in Europe,” the ports said in a press release. “Furthermore, the port will account for more than 15% of Europe’s liquid natural gas transited and it will of course remain Europe’s most important chemical hub. Finally, it will 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.”

Port of Antwerp-Bruges will also seek to develop interconnectivity between the two locations.

“The transportation of goods by rail between the two sites will be bundled, estuary traffic (by inland vessels on the North Sea) will be optimized and pipeline connections will also be on the list of priorities,” the ports said.

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