Logistics Valley Flanders Ford Genk

Official launch of infrastructure works at ex-Ford site and construction of a new quay wall

Today, the Flemish minister responsible and government partners officially launched the development works for the construction of a quay wall at the former Ford site. The announcement of the name ‘Logistics Valley Flanders’ immediately established a bridge to the future.

Today marked the official launch of the development works for the construction of a new quay wall at the former Ford site in Genk. “Although the name Ford will undoubtedly remain associated with this site for a long time to come, the time has come to give this unique site an appropriate inspirational name. Rich past makes way for a future full of promise. Logistics Valley Flanders is a name with international appeal that makes it clear what the site is about”, say ministers Hilde Crevits and Lydia Peeters.

Although the closure of the Ford site may have struck a particularly heavy blow at the time, the Flemish government and the city of Genk did not throw in the towel. A Master Plan has been drawn up to transform the former Ford site into a new trimodal industrial zone with the aim of creating 2,500 new jobs.

Vlaamse Waterweg nv was appointed as the developer for the (waterside) C-zone and as the client for the demolition works, remediation works and the construction of the shared utility infrastructure at the site. Those works have since almost been completed. The recent granting of the environmental permit means that the infrastructure works for the redevelopment and construction of a quay wall can now start too.

In the public domain (zone A), there will be access roads for motor vehicles and for cyclists, drainage, utility channels, parking spaces for employees, a private link road to the port between the transshipment centre along the canal and the area behind, infiltration basins for collecting rainwater from the industrial plots, green zones, planted areas and public lighting. Quay infrastructure will also be realised at the same time, along with a regional waterside transshipment centre.

“The companies that have been established here symbolise the confidence of businesses in the strong assets of our inland waterways. De Vlaamse Waterweg is also investing in a future-proof waterway network, both in terms of infrastructure and digitally,” says Frieda Brepoels, chairwoman of De Vlaamse Waterweg nv. Managing Director Chris Danckaerts: “Together with all the public and private partners, we will realise an industrial zone that is state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability and mobility. A trimodal area with shared facilities, a strong focus on the infrastructure for cyclists and green spaces.”

New quay wall for container transshipment

The new quay will be 425 m long and will include a container transshipment facility with gantry crane and container storage area (61 m inland). The area behind will also be made ready for construction (drainage, sub-foundations and foundations) at the same time. The quay wall will enable the transshipment of containers and the transshipment capacity required for the industrial zone has been taken into account. De Vlaamse Waterweg has concluded a PPP agreement with the concessionaire – the Port of Limburg – for the construction of the quay along with a transshipment and stacking zone. The works for the construction of the quay wall will start this summer.

“The Flemish government is strongly committed to sustainable mobility and the potential of our waterways is an asset that we want to make the most of. For the importance of inland waterways in the fight against climate change will only continue to increase and their contribution is one that cannot be ignored. Waterways are perfectly suited for mobility and environmentally-friendly freight transport”, says Lydia Peeters, Flemish minister of Mobility and Public Works. “Constructing this quay wall will provide tri-modal access to the site and that will help businesses realise their plans to transport goods via the inland waterways.”

“We are investing in the construction of quay walls like this one here in Genk because we strongly believe in the importance and the potential of our waterways”, adds Frieda Brepoels, chairwoman of De Vlaamse Waterweg nv. “Constructing this quay wall will enable us to make the site accessible via the water too and take a lot of trucks off the roads in Limburg.”

The infrastructure works for the redevelopment and the quay wall are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.