New cars ‘piling up’ in Port of Zeebrugge
In the Belgian Port of Zeebrugge, new cars coming in from all over the world are rapidly filling up the available parking space as few of them are leaving these days for dealerships around Europe. Car delivery companies like International Car Operators (ICO) are looking into ‘emergency surfacing’ fallow terrain as a temporary measure to avoid the cars piling up.
ICO, a daughter of Japanese Nippon Yusen Kaisha, is managing the world’s largest car terminal in Zeebrugge. Every year, 18 different shipping companies are bringing in 2,3 million cars of 45 brands to the terminal. Tesla, for instance, uses Zeebrugge as its sole entry point for Europe.
“Except for Russia or Scandinavia, there are hardly any cars leaving our terminal,” says ICO boss Marc Adriansens in De Tijd. “Today, there are 100 000 new cars parked here. We have room for 10 000 more, but we expect 30 000 of them coming from Asia in the next two weeks. So, we have to look for extra space.”
“We will start with temporary surfacing one hectare of nine of available wasteland in the back-harbor as a test. We’ll have to get permission from the car manufacturers to park their cars there first. But if the corona crisis lasts for some time, we’ll probably need 20 hectares extra,” Adriansens says.
These kinds of temporary measures will cost the company lots of money. As an alternative, the option of mooring car cargo ships in the harbor to be used as temporary stock for cars is studied. The ICO CEO thinks activities of disembarking cars and preparing them for delivery will fall back with two-thirds between April and June.
Sailing at half power
Today, car delivery ships coming from Asia are sailing at half power and are using the ‘long route’ via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa instead of the short route via the Suez Canal to cope with the slowing down of the market in Europe.
The is no shortage of terrains at Zeebrugge, the harbor’s CEO Rik Goetinck says, but the 50 hectares available in the logistic zone are all wasteland. Goetlinck doesn’t exclude other transshipment companies like P&O or C.Ro will also face parking problems soon.