The Port of Antwerp will invest 1.4 million euros (U.S. $1.64 million) in seven port enhancement projects over the next three years.
The projects aim to create more sustainable mobility solutions, specifically to reduce road traffic, with the port predicting that the number of truck trips will be reduced by up to 250,000 annually once the projects are completed.
“A modal shift towards more sustainable methods of transport that place less burden on our roads or even avoid them altogether is crucial for more efficient mobility, not only at present but also in the future,” said port alderman Marc Van Peel. “That’s why the Port Authority will be supporting private-sector projects over the next few years that contribute to more efficient truck and other transport in and around the port.”
The seven projects include the following:
• Terminal operator DP World aims to make improvements to existing rail products and to attract new rail services;
• Multimodal logistics service provider Delcatrans is developing a reefer platform for barge transport at its River Terminal in Wielsbeke;
• Digital trucking industry platform provider Hakka NV has submitted a proposal that uses its platform for an application that finds return loads for trucks, thus avoiding empty trips and making truck transport more efficient;
• The Dutch company Port-Liner, which specializes in building “zero emission” barges, submitted a project under which it will build five hybrid barges that will ply between De Kempen intermodal terminal in South Netherland and Antwerp;
• Intermodal operator Danser has submitted two innovative barge concepts to save 26,000 truck trips per year by setting up a hub-and-spoke concept along the Brussels-Scheldt canal, and by introducing a corridor system between northern France and Antwerp;
• Euroports Inland Terminals is to introduce a new rail connection between Liège (Ile Mosin) and the port of Antwerp;
• Slovak Shipping and Ports is a container terminal operator from Bratislava in Slovakia which will start operating combined trains with a mixture of intermodal and conventional wagons that will travel two times per week between the terminal in Bratislava and the port of Antwerp starting in 2018.
The seven projects were selected from submissions from the Call for Proposals issued by the Port Authority at the start of 2017. The projects were assessed based on whether they offered a reliable and price-competitive alternative to existing, less sustainable solutions, and whether also they were based on a profitable business plan. The seven projects that were ultimately selected can each count on maximum support of 200,000 euros spread over a period of three years, the port said.
However, the Flemish government said it will release a further 1.4 million euros for projects to make transport in and around Antwerp more sustainable, according to the port.
“Mobility on the Flemish roads concerns all of us. Many people live with the idea that the port is the main source of congestion on our roads, but in reality the port is only one of the many users of the road network. The fact is that our region is a major economic crossroads between the Netherlands, northern France and the German Ruhr area,” said Antwerp Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren. “In the next few years work will start on various projects aimed at improving mobility in and around Antwerp, but additional infrastructure alone will not be enough.”
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