2000 - 2010 Economic and ecological sustainability

The port of Antwerp is growing steadily, but wants to do so in a sustainable way. In 2001, an agreement with nature conservation organisation Natuurpunt was signed.

Peter Symens of Natuurpunt says the following: “The co-operation with all port actors, the Flemish public sector administration and the scientific world is a textbook example for many Flemish and Western European ports how seemingly contradictory interests of nature and port development can be reconciled.” European commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik also expressed his admiration: “The port of Antwerp is an excellent example of how nature conservation and economic development go hand in hand.”

In 2005, the first vessel entered the tidal Deurganck dock. With an extra capacity of 7 million standard containers, Antwerp's container storage capacity more than doubled. The older port areas to the north of the city have been modernised following big investments by port companies. Warehouses are fully automated and the All Weather Terminal opened. Weather sensitive products such as steel, wood and paper can be loaded and unloaded under a giant covering.

On policy level, the Scheldt treaties are key. Agreements were made with the Netherlands about accessibility, flood protection and nature conservation. An agreed deepening of the river was delayed by the Dutch, but by 2010 it was done. This means the biggest container vessels in the world can now get to Antwerp without any problem and the Port of Antwerp continues to play a leading role as an international seaport.