Sustainable port

To become climate neutral by 2050, Port of Antwerp is pushing back the boundaries with innovations that will make the port greener. For example, Port of Antwerp has introduced sustainably produced methanol and hydrogen as alternative fuels for its own fleet. Along with other companies, we are taking measures to reduce pollution in the air, water and soil. We are also looking for solutions to contribute to the energy transition with, among others, Antwerp@C and NextGen District.

Hydrotug: the first hydrogen-powered tug in the world


Port of Antwerp manages a fleet of 32 vessels, consisting of tugs, dredgers and support vessels. This fleet is responsible for almost 85% of the Port Authority's total CO2 emissions. In order to limit that impact, a multi-year project to modernise, green and optimise the fleet was set in motion. For example, three new energy-efficient RSD tugs were commissioned in April 2021. 


In addition, a tug powered by hydrogen is under construction. This ‘Hydrotug’ is one of a kind, powered by combustion engines running on hydrogen in combination with diesel. The construction is the result of a collaboration with Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a pioneer in the use of hydrogen in shipping. Here, Port of Antwerp has taken an important step in the transition towards a sustainable and CO2-neutral port.



NextGen District


With NextGen District, Port of Antwerp is sending out a clear signal: the future is circular and sustainable. The site of approximately 88 hectares will be given a new purpose as the new circular economy hub. From startup to scale-up, from established industrial player to newcomer.


NextGen District offers custom space that is tailored to all needs. This multi-modally accessible location, near the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe, gives companies the opportunity to test innovative projects within circular energy or process activities.



In a rapidly changing world, we want to be a safe home port and a lever for anyone who sees opportunities and wants to take on challenges,” says Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO at Port of Antwerp.


The aim of the NextGen District is to grow into a hub for innovation and cross-fertilisation in the circular economy, giving a boost to the new generation.


Jacques Vandermeiren,

CEO Port of Antwerp


Shore power for better air quality


Port of Antwerp already offers barges shore power and will also roll this out for seagoing vessels.  In time, this will mean that all ships at the port will use electricity from the quay and switch off their engines when moored.


This is good for air quality and for the ship's engines. In addition, ships that emit less are given a discount. Port of Antwerp is setting a good example by allowing its own fleet to use this shore power system.





Plastics have a place at the port, but that place is not in the Scheldt or in nature. Port of Antwerp is taking various initiatives to prevent pollution and protect nature by cleaning up plastic waste.


At the Doel Dock, ‘Patje Plastic’ is fishing out floating waste and plastics (using passive energy) so that they do not spread further along the waterways. In addition, Port of Antwerp has launched a competition in search of an innovative way to tackle the historic pollution caused by plastic pellets. The winner, the 'Nul-O-Plastic', by Jan De Nul / Envisan, is an experimental vacuum cleaner on caterpillar tracks. It sucks up the plastic pellets in the Galgeschoor nature reserve without damaging it. The Nul-O-Plastic has been operational since September 2020.



Innovative iNoses identify strange odours at the port


Is there a smell at the port? There could be a lot of reasons for that. For example, from the degassing, loading or unloading of ships, but also from normal residues released during industrial processes. 


Since 2017, 23 virtual noses have been set up at the port of Antwerp. The innovative iNoses identify harmful gases at the port. They are equipped with tubes that make it possible to take air samples from a distance. In time, they will provide an insight into the hotspots and trends of emissions at the port. Port of Antwerp aims to use this data to warn local residents as soon as unpleasant odours are blowing in their direction.