Extra container capacity

Extra container capacity Antwerp (ECA) goes beyond building a dock or extending the port. With ECA, the port of Antwerp is opting for sustainable development and the efficient use of the available space. Therefore, as a world port, we are guaranteeing the provisioning of our country and the prosperity of current and future generations. In addition, we are accelerating the greening of the entire container sector.

Why extra container capacity in the port of Antwerp?  


The port of Antwerp is Belgium's largest economic engine. Container traffic plays a key role in this. containers keep our society and economy going. They ensure our provisioning, allow our companies to flourish and distribute our Belgian products on international markets. Year after year, the market share of container traffic in Antwerp is growing.


Prof. Dr Elvira Haezendonck explains why extra container capacity in the port of Antwerp is a necessity.


The increasing use of containers for goods transport will continue. Furthermore, a ship in 2005 had an average capacity of 10,000 TEU. Today, we receive ships of more than 20,000 TEU every week. In order to continue receiving these types of ships, we need a high-performance infrastructure. 


The infrastructure of the future will ensure our growth as a world port


The port is an essential link in provisioning Belgium and much of Europe. Our port is also a great asset for European exports. Sustainable growth is essential in order to secure our position as a hub in a global network. In order to maintain this competitive position, we are investing in more and better capacity.


Additional capacity is needed in order to gain the trust of current and future investors and to secure local business. With ECA, we will ensure sustainable growth and the prosperity of current and future generations.

Sustainable growth reconciling the economy, people and climate


With ECA, we are building the infrastructure of the future, including a climate-proof and hyper-efficient terminal. Through research and participation, we are aiming for a smarter project which balances economic needs with the concerns of the environment.
Sustainability is the touchstone of everything which we do: in order to achieve our ambitious goals, we need responsible growth. The port of Antwerp fully supports the European and Flemish climate ambitions and aims to be climate neutral by 2050.


Hanne Talboom, the ECA project officer, explains why the port of Antwerp is working on extra container capacity.


Greening of container traffic


The port of Antwerp is a pioneer when it comes to making container traffic greener. By investing in the electrification of terminals (for example shore-based power), emission reductions and a modal shift, we are accelerating the sustainability of shipping and logistics. 


Moored ships use auxiliary motors to generate power. These are responsible for a large part of all nitric oxide (NOx) emissions in the port. The port of Antwerp is striving to achieve zero nitric oxide emissions caused by mooring emissions from ships throughout the port area by 2050.
We will achieve this by providing shore-based power or other emission-reducing technologies as standard equipment at the ECA terminals and also by rolling them out at existing terminals. In addition, the new terminals are more or less emission free. As a pioneer, we wish to set an example to other ports, and encourage them to join us in making container traffic greener and more efficient.

Smart approach to container transport

Being a logistics crossroads in Europe, Antwerp receives lots of passing goods traffic which is not connected to the port. Thanks to ECA, we are organising the local goods traffic to achieve the modal split.
We are opting to increase the transport of containers via rail and inland navigation. In addition, the port of Antwerp is stimulating the transport of trucks at night. By transporting containers at night, we can ease the strain on the road network in the Antwerp district and tackle the problem of 'rat-running' (short cuts).

Finally, we are targeting a reduction in emissions from trucks with our efforts in electrification and hydrogen projects. This is why we launched a pilot project relating to night transport and electric transport in 2021.


Growth in harmony with our environment


The essential growth of our port requires solutions which will limit nuisance. We are aware of the impact that our activities have on the wider environment - beneficial, but sometimes also disruptive - on both sides of the Scheldt and in the rest of Flanders. We are engaging in dialogue and communicating transparently. This is how we are converting the concerns of the neighbourhood into specific improvement projects

We are dealing with noise pollution by installing noise buffers. By installing and maintaining nature areas and cycle paths, we are increasing the quality of life for those around us.


Furthermore, we are involved in a harmonious interaction between nature, agriculture and the port in the Grenspark Groot Saeftinghe.

Grenspark Groot Saeftinghe


How do we create extra container capacity?


Several alternatives were considered in the search for the most suitable location for extra container capacity in the port of Antwerp. The Flemish government has approved the location and design of the preferred decision. This decision follows consultation with all relevant stakeholders.


The extra capacity will not only come from the expansion thanks to a new tidal dock, but also from the development of land within the existing port area. As such, we can make optimal use of the existing and future space. ECA will allow the port of Antwerp to gain an additional container capacity of 7.2 million TEU.


By optimising existing docks, room will be made in the port for 3.5 million TEU extra containers, thanks to:


  • A new inlet basin, north of Zandvliet lock, beside the North Sea terminal (0.9 million TEU)
  • The extension along the Waasland Canal, to the west of the Kieldrecht lock (1.7 million TEU)
  • The extension along the Waasland Canal, to the east of the Kieldrecht lock (0.9 million TEU)


There will also be a new tidal dock. With this new dock we will increase the container capacity by 3.7 million TEU containers.

When will there be extra container capacity?


More information and procedure


Do you want to know more about the complex ECA project? Go to the Department of Mobility and Public Works website
For more information about the process, participation procedures and the consultation of notes, records and reports, please visit the website www.cpeca.be.

You can always ask questions about the port via info@portofantwerp.com.