Port of Antwerp and port of Zeebrugge joined forces, combining their power, with the goal to strengthen their position within the global supply chain and continue their course towards sustainable growth, with the ambition to become the world's first port to reconcile economy, people and climate.
Accordingly, the unification process is expected to take a year to finalize.
The ports aims to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. The unification project is all about creating added value for the surrounding areas of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, for customers and stakeholders, as well as for the rest of Flanders. As part of a joint plan, the two ports have defined three strategic priorities – sustainable growth, resilience and leadership in the energy and digital transition.
It is stated that in order to maximize the added value of a unified port, Port of Antwerp-Bruges will seek to develop and make optimum use of the interconnectivity between the two ports. 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.
Future investments will be evaluated from a unified operational perspective, so that both port platforms will benefit, and the port continues to meet its customers' expectations.
Moreover, the merge represents the resilient goals both ports have; That resilience is essential to secure the prosperity and well-being of our society and the future of our economy.
Annick De Ridder, port alderman and chair of the board of directors of the Antwerp Port Authority welcomed the merger, commenting
"We are proud of this historic agreement, which seals a long-awaited unification. By joining forces, we are on the way to becoming Europe's global port, while at the same time reinforcing our position as the most important container port in terms of tonnage, a solid RoRo port and one of the largest break bulk ports in Europe."
He added that the aspire to bring the two ports together, which is much more than simply tonnage and TEUs, however. "The ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp are to a large extent complementary and working together will make us more resilient to external challenges," he stressed.
Port of Antwerp-Bruges will draw upon the resources, expertise and talent of its teams in Zeebrugge and Antwerp; Consequently, a unified organisational structure and way of working will be developed, while respecting one another's DNA and corporate culture. Transparent, long-term agreements will be made with regard to the leadership and management of Port of Antwerp-Bruges.
The transaction is subject to a number of customary suspensive conditions, including approval from the Belgian Competition Authorities. Both parties aim to finalize the transaction in the course of 2021.