Upgrade of the Europa Terminal at Port of Antwerp-Bruges officially started

Port of Antwerp-Bruges and PSA Antwerp today officially kicked off the project for upgrading the Europa Terminal’s quay wall and terminal. Scheduled to take about nine years, the three-phase project will ensure that the latest generation of container ships can continue to berth in Antwerp. The upgrade will also result in an efficient and sustainable terminal contributing to the transition to a climate-neutral port.

To continue to play in the top league of world ports, Antwerp needs to offer its customers additional container capacity and a high-performance infrastructure. This is why Port of Antwerp-Bruges and PSA Antwerp are investing in upgrading the Europa Terminal. Officially inaugurated in 1990, the terminal was Antwerp’s first tidal container terminal. With a price tag of 335 million euros, the upgrade will strengthen the competitive position of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, while at the same time helping make it a sustainable port.

Work to be done in three phases to keep the terminal operational

The 1,200-metre quay wall will be deepened to allow ships with a draught from 13.5 to 16 metres to berth there. As loading/unloading must continue during the extensive works, we will be tackling the quay wall in three phases to minimise the operational impact. In addition, we will be creating additional berths for barges. This all guarantees a smooth service for our customers. Spread over 9 years, the work has been carefully planned to take account of expected traffic in coming years.

Attention to climate and the environment

The upgrade will also contribute to the transition to a climate-neutral port. For example, electrification and other optimisation measures are set to reduce CO2 emissions per container by 50%, while wind turbines will increase the share of renewable energy.

The new quay wall will be reoriented to ensure sufficient distance between passing ships and the terminal, and to protect the nearby Galgenschoor nature reserve. The final phase includes construction of an underwater dam to provide additional protection for the nature reserve, ensuring that it does not subside.

Throughout the project, all parties involved will take all possible measures to minimise disruption, in close consultation with the surrounding area. Following a tendering process, the contract for the work was awarded to a consortium of four contractors, Artes-Roegiers, Artes-Depret, Herbosch-Kiere and Boskalis, all of which have extensive experience in large-scale hydraulic engineering projects.

Jacques Vandermeiren, Port of Antwerp-Bruges CEO: “Modernisation of the Europa Terminal is proof of our ambition as a container port. As a leading world port, it is essential for us to continue to compete at the highest level and be able to accommodate the largest ships. However, we’re aware of the impact of our activities on the environment and local residents. Therefore, we are committed to reducing, inter alia, the emissions of ships at berth. With a new, efficient and sustainable terminal, we are building the port infrastructure of the future.”

Annick De Ridder, City of Antwerp councillor responsible for the port and chairman of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges board of directors: “Our port is the economic engine of Flanders. Interventions are needed to optimise operations. Deepening the Europa Terminal from 13.5 to 16 metres means that we, together with PSA Antwerp, can continue to accommodate the world’s largest container ships. I look forward to the continued progress of the work and to an even better future for container handling at our port.”

Cameron Thorpe, PSA Belgium CEO: “Here at PSA Belgium, we are delighted that the construction work on the quay wall is starting. This allows us to start the process of transforming the Europa Terminal with a highly sustainable investment increasing capacity by more than 700K TEUs a year. Demonstrating our confidence in the future of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, it underlines the PSA Group’s engagement in Belgium.”

Jurgen De Wachter, General Manager PSA Antwerp Container Business: “Upgrading the Europa Terminal will future-proof our operations and service levels through reducing our carbon footprint by more than half, improving staff safety, and meeting our customers’ increasing demand for handling megaships.”

Benny De Sutter, CEO Herbosch-Kiere: “We are very happy to be able to carry out this project of strategic importance for the port’s future. Technically complex, it will be implemented in phases without too much disruption to container traffic. Though it will be a technical and operational challenge, it’s one that we can handle with our extensive expertise. Good agreements have also been reached with Port of Antwerp-Bruges and PSA Antwerp.”