Port of Antwerp invests in future growth
MAY 7, 2015:-Port of Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe, posted 5.9 overall growth in the first quarter of 2015. Container handling achieved a growth of 9.5 percent. One notable feature has been the 2M alliance of MSC and Maersk in 2014 which contributed to increase in handling. The growth has necessited a new terminal with larger capacity for container handling for Port of Antwerp. The activities of MSC shipping company will be shifted fro m Delwaide dock to Deurganck dock which has an annual capacity of 11 million TEU.
The port of Antwerp has a development area of more than 1,000 hectares available on the left bank which is expected to enter operation in phases. The Port Authority plans for the first phase of the Saeftinghe dock to be operational as of 2021, with 1,400 m of quay and a minimum capacity of 5.1 million TEU. The costs for this first phase of the dock are estimated at 660 million euros. For Antwerp being able to accommodate the long-term growth of shipping companies is essential. "We operate in an international, competitive environment where maintaining a top position is a daily challenge, not something to be taken for granted," says Luc Arnouts, Chief Commercial Officer of the Port Authority. It is not yet clear when the second phase of the Saeftinghe dock, which ultimately will be more than 4 km long, will enter operation. "The Port Authority aims for controlled expansion of capacity," explains Arnouts. "This means in practice that we have to keep a very close watch on the market, and not simply throw more capacity onto the market if there is no demand for it. We were already prepared to offer the Saeftinghe Development Area on the market in 2008, but in view of the timing – right on the edge of the worldwide economic crisis – we put the project on hold."
In addition to construction of the first phase of the Saeftinghe dock the project also includes the development of non-maritime zones and backquay terminal areas.
Following the acquisition of the Churchill Industrial Zone the Port Authority recently decided to extend the search for an integral industrial use for the site by a further two years.