To understand the Antwerp Port Regulations concerning the handling and storage of dangerous and polluting cargoes, you'll find some important definitions on this page.


The "ship’s agent" is in principle the person responsible for the ship. He is the person that reports the ship to the port authority and applies for a berth.
The "cargo agent" is responsible for loading and / or discharging dangerous goods on board a ship.
Ship’s agent and cargo agent are not necessarily the same company and both are generally called "agent".


Back area

Is that part of the port area not being the front quay.


Container Freight Station (CFS)

A Container Freigtht Station is an area in or outside a warehouse where dangerous goods can be stuffed in or stripped out of a freight container.
Dangerous goods can be placed in the CFS for a short period in necessary to arrange furthetransport of the goods

The conditions for a license to operate a CFS can be found in the Antwerp Port Regulations article 4.4.1. and Port Instruction 4.4.1.
(only available in Dutch at the moment.)

List of the recognised container freigth stations. 


Container terminal (certified)

A terminal meeting certain criteria, can be certified by the Chief Harbour Master.

A certified container terminal should have at least following infrastructure or following procedures in place:

  • the terminal has to be completly fenced to prevent the entrance of
  • an emergency response plan as definied in article 4.2.3.has to be implemented on the terminal;
  • the terminal has to be guarded continuous or semi-continuous.
    When there are no terminal operations, the terminal entrance has to be closed when there are no permant pressence of guards.
  • the terminal must have an approved Port Security Plan.

De terminal operator has to declare to the Chief Harbour Master the following in writing:

  • instructions have been given to terminal personel on:
  1. segregation provisions;
  2. all IMDG-cargo have to be placed on terminal at least 20 meters from technical pure ammoniumnitrate or ammoniumnitrate fertilisers.
  3. all containers loaded with dangerous cargo on terminal, have to packed, labelled and plackarded compliant with the IMDG code;

List of certified container terminal


Dangerous and polluting goods

“Dangerous goods” are:
a. goods classified as dangerous goods in the IMDG-code from IMO;
b. goods listed in chapter 17 of the IBC-code from IMO;
c. goods listed in chapter 19 of the IGC-code from IMO;
d. goods classified in cargo group B in the IMSBC-code;
e. goods as classified in ADN, ADR or RID.

“Polluting goods” are:
a. oils as listed in Annex of the Marpol Convention;
b. noxious liquids as listed in Annex II of the Marpol Convention;
c. noxious liquids as listed in Annex III of the
Marpol Convention;
d. all cargoes which can be responsable for emmisions which can harm people or the environment direct or indirect;


Direct handling

If direct handling is required for particular goods, it means that the goods may not remain on the quay more than 8 hours.
In certain cases the Harbourmaster can enforce a shorter period.


Duly Authorised representative of the agent or forwarder

The person whose name occurs on the notification as duly authorised person, must be in the possession of a written and duly signed declaration Director or senior manager of his company declaring that he is authorised to submit notifications.
This written declaration must be presented in the event that the person involved is formally called to the Harbour Master's office to discuss any issue involving notification.
If the person involved cannot present this written declaration to the Harbourmaster, the issue will not discussed, and the Harbour Master will may take legal action against the company.


Emergency response plan

All companies in the port, handling or receiving dangerous goods or could have ships (sea-going vessels or barges) moored at the quay, must have and implement an emergency response plan.

The main goal of the emergency response plan is:

  • for companies to be prepared for unwanted events, which can harm people or damage infrastructure.
  • to implement safety measures to prevent these unwanted events.

More information on the emergency response plan can be found in article 4.2.3. of the port bye laws.



The lowest temperature of a liquid at which its vapour forms an ignitable mixture with air.

For the allowed method to determine the flashpoint see IMDG-code – Chapter 2.3.



The "forwarder" is in principle the person responsible for the pre- or on -carriage by road vehicle, railway freight wagon or inland waterway barge.
This means e.g. that if the responsible person for an inland waterway barge is the deliverer, for the regulations concerning dangerous goods he always acts in the capacity of "forwarder".


Front (quay)

Is the area between waterside and public road which is used for handling maritime cargo.


Fumigation area (Certified)

Fumigation of freight containers in the port area is only allowed in a certified fumigation are.
These certified locations are equiped to make it possible to safely fumigate and ventilate container units.

Procedures to get a license to operate a certified fumigation can be found in article 4.10 of the port bye laws.  

List of the certified fumigation areas.

Gas expert (for handling of very toxic gases)

This is a person who due to his training and or experience has the necessary knowledge of:


  • the chemical and physical properties of the handled gases
  • the danger of these products for people or environment
  • action to be undertaken in case of a dangerous incident with such product
  • measurement equipment to determine the concentration of (toxic) gases.

The Port Authority is free at all time to require any person who acts as a gas expert to prove his knowledge on the above mentioned points.
Note: the term "Gas Expert" should not be confused with that of "Degassing expert". The latter is a person recognised by article 3.13.9 of the port by laws who by means of measurements and inspections can decide if hot works (e.g. welding, cutting and burning) can safely be carried out on board ships or to certify that a tanker vessel is gasfree.



Handling of cargo is pre–carriage, on–carriage, loading, unloading and in transit on board.



Main means of transport

  • Whenever a ship is used in the transport chain, the ship will be considered as the main means of transport.
    • presenting goods by road for shipment on board a a sea-going vessel.
  • if the notification doesn't involve a sea-going vessel, but an inland waterway barge, the latter is considered as the main means of transport.
    • presenting goods by road for shipment on board an inland waterway barge.
  • If two equivalent modes of transport are involved in the transportation chain, the unit to which the goods are loaded is considered as the main means of transport.
    • unloading from ship A / loading on ship B, the loading ship becomes the main means of transport.


Mandatory notification of dangerous and polluting goods

Dangeorus and polluting goods have to be notified to the Harbour Master's Office, 24 hours prior to arrival on terminal.
This notification has to be sent by means of EDI.

Who must make the notification?

  • Agent : notifies the discharging of goods, and also notifies the dangerous and polluting goods remaining on board.
  • Forwarder : notifies the pre-carriage of goods by means of truck, train or barge.


Permited Stay of packaged dangerous goods

On quays, terminals and on certified container freight stations, stay of dangerous cargo is limited in time. Only "short storage"  is allowed during an interruption of transport opslag”.

To guarantee these short stay on terminals of dangerous cargo, permited stays are defined for packaged dangerous cargo.

In the port bye laws and port instruction 4.2.5. for all dangerous goods listed in the IMDG-code permitted stays can be found.

On this website you can also find permitted stays of all dangerous goods on "Handling of dangerous cargo".

If the permitted stay is expired, the Harbour Master can grant exceptions on these regulations.

An application for exceptions have to made by using the "APICS E-counter" 

The Harbour Master can give exceptions to extend the period that dangerous goods can remain on terminals for max 30 days.


Proper shipping name

The proper shipping is the name to be used in the dangerous goods notifications.

For packed dangerous goods, its is the proper shipping name which can be found in the IMDG-code.

For dangerous goods in bulk names as listed in IMSBC, IBC- and IGC-code.

SHE Plan

SHE stands for Safety Health and Envrionment

When dangerous goods, as a result of damage to packaging or a container, present a hazard, the port user who ascertains this must immediately notify the emergency services.

The person in charge of the terminal must isolate the dangerous zone and prevent people to enter it and take all necessary measures to limit the danger.

He will immediately inform the Harbour Masters Office (HMO) of the event and behave according to the instructions issued and given by them orally.

The activities that are required to safely transport the dangerous goods further after leakage or damage (repair, repackaging, pumping, etc.) may only be carried out after permission from the HMO.
This permission is given after approval of a SHE plan drawn up by the person carrying out the planned work.

In this plan, the company must offer the necessary guarantees that during the execution of the works the following is taken into account:

- Security at the terminal

- The health of the people who carry out the work and those present in the area.

- Prevention of environmental pollution due to the release of dangerous or polluting goods.

A checklist for companies who wish to make a SHE-plan in accordance with article 4.1.6 of the Municpal Port Regulation can be downloaded here  

Ship/ship transfer

Is the action whereby goods are discharged from a ship and on the same concession, are immediately loaded to another ship without any handling in the meantime.
Also known as transhipment.