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About the port
Located in Flanders, Belgium, the port of Antwerp is the 2nd largest seaport in the European continent and the 14th largest container port in the world. Even though the port has an associated history of trade, its complete potential was discovered by Napoleon Bonaparte as he constructed the first dock at Antwerp in 1811 — named eponymously on the Scheldt river, the lifeline of the country.
Due to its strategic inland location, the port of Antwerp is a major marine hub for international freight shipping and logistics. As an essential link in the global supply chain network, Antwerp is a leading port with significant cargo-generating capacity. It handles around 235 million tonnes of maritime freight annually. Cargos passing through this port include iron, steel, fruits, paper, wood, sugar, petroleum, chemicals, coal, fertilizers, etc.
It is divided into two parts: the Right bank and the Left bank. The port of Antwerp boasts of the best-performing deep-sea container terminals in the continent.
Having more than 40 terminals, the Antwerp port has 5 dedicated deepsea container terminals with a combined handling capacity of more than 20 million TEUs.
DP World Antwerp Gateway Terminal is owned collaboratively by DP World, COSCO, Terminal Link, and Duisport Group and has a handling capacity of more than 2.8 million TEUs. Well-equipped with gantry cranes, straddle carriers, and automatic stacking cranes (ASC), the terminal is known for its efficient handling of all types of general containerized cargo. It also has an excellent network of intermodal transport connections.
MSC PSA European Terminal (MPET) is the single largest container terminal in Europe with a handling capacity of more than 9 million TEUs annually. It has a quay length of 3,700 meters and 41 quay cranes across 9 berths with an outreach of 25 containers across. It is open 24/7 for vessels.
Antwerp Container Terminal is a fairly smaller terminal having a container handling capacity of 1 million TEUs annually. It has container freight stations, repair services, empty depot services, International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS), as well as facilities for reefers and handles all types of general cargo and containers.
PSA Europa Terminal & PSA Noordzee Terminal
In the 1980s, the port of Antwerp was extended to construct the terminals in front of a series of locks. This increased their efficiency and saved 4-6 hours, as the vessels didn’t need to enter inside the lock complex.
Thus, in 1990, the Europa Terminal was opened as the first tidal container terminal; followed by the Noordzee Terminal in 1997. Both of them are located in the Right Bank. They are quite similar in their infrastructure and operations but vary in handling capacity. While the Europa terminal handles 1.8 million TEUs, the Noordzee terminal has a capacity of 2.6 million TEUs annually. The latter is equipped to handle the biggest container vessels in the world.
With its advanced infrastructure and semi-automated container terminals, the port of Antwerp stands out as a multifunctional world-class port due to its efficient handling, logistics, and operations. It is also well-connected with multimodal transports like rail, road, barge transport through canal waterways, pipeline, etc. The barge transportation plays a major role in the shipping at this port.
Container Availability in Antwerp
Out of the total containers globally, almost 1/4th containers travel through the port of Antwerp. Over 200 freight forwarding companies have their base at the port of Antwerp, accounting for nearly 1.5 million jobs directly or indirectly. Due to the massive operations, the port employs a huge number of people, making it central to the country’s economy.
Offering faster connections, smarter logistics, electronic solutions, and smoother customs, the port of Antwerp is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Its high productivity, cost efficiency, and reliable maritime services enable the port to provide seamless services — accommodating the largest shipping vessels on the globe. This creates a strong demand for containerized and other forms of cargo and freight transport in Antwerp.
You can find containers in Antwerp through our members at the online xChange platform. In the public search, you can see where some of the xChange members are looking to get their containers moved to and from the port of Antwerp.
According to the Container Availability Index (CAx), the port is usually in a container deficit, making them relatively harder to find.
To increase security, efficiency, and transparency of the supply chain, the port of Antwerp would be launching a digital container release application for Certified Pick Up in 2021. This centralized platform would regulate the release of containers based on authorized data.
It has the best logistics and semi-automated operations offering a comprehensive range of services including assembly, stock control, after-sales service, quality control, besides the usual docking, storage, haulage, repair, pilotage, towage, un/mooring, sales, and maintenance of goods, vessels, and containers. The port also offers SOLAS VGM container weight verification for containers.
The fast, accessible, and environment-friendly approach of the port of Antwerp, combined with strong hinterland connections makes it an ideal choice for every type of cargo and container. As container traffic continues to grow every year, the port of Antwerp is also expanding with growing possibilities. It is working towards becoming a fully sustainable port, contributing to all SDGs, and emphasizing innovation, digitization, sustainability, as well as responsibility towards society.