Mobility major problem of growing Port of Antwerp
The constant growth of the Antwerp Port asks for important investments in infrastructure. In 2018 transhipment grew with 5,1%, the 6th year of continuous growth. Future prognosis foresees a further growth of 3% each year. The port’s capacity as well as the mobility and the possibility to find personnel are under serious pressure.
The plans for big infrastructure works for the so-called ‘Oosterweel connection’, one of Europe’s biggest road construction sites, are ready but the next few years promise to be chaotic when the works really start. “It should have started years ago”, says Antwerp port CEO, Jacques Vandermeiren. “Now it will get worse before it starts to get better.”
At the moment 84% of container capacity in the port is used, already a little bit above the ideal maximum of 80% for optimal efficiency. Only in 2024, additional capacity will be ready to be used, so next years it will be tight.
Antwerp has practically reached the level of Rotterdam in container traffic, the two of them represent almost 60% of total container traffic in Europe (31,1 and 27,6% respectively).
When it comes to mobility and transport, the Antwerp port is constantly confronted with bottlenecks. That’s why it’s trying to use its infrastructure day and night, which causes extra costs for companies.
The 1.000 km railway infrastructure in the harbour sees itself confronted with a lack of operators. In 2030 transport by rail should have doubled to 15%, so that transport via road can drop from 55% to 43%.
Another means of transport which has to be developed is inland navigation: from 38 to 42% of total transport. Not only for transport of goods, but also for commuters. The ‘waterbus’ has to transport more workers, in 2018 already 400.000 passengers were registered. From 2019 onward the waterbus service will be scheduled every half hour.
Apart from that, the bicycle bus will have to be further developed in order to get the traffic jams of commuting people as low as possible. Finally, the Oosterweel junction has to be built as soon as possible, until then it will be at least partly chaotic.
The Antwerp port represents almost 5% of Belgian’s gross national product and employs 143.058 people (direct and indirect). In the port itself 900 companies give directly work to 60.000 people.