Inland shipping

In close co-operation with public and private partners, the Port of Antwerp is continuously looking for new solutions to expand barge transport. Innovative measures help freight forwarders to quickly and reliably reach customers in the European hinterland. In this way the Port of Antwerp sets the tone in inland shipping - as the best inland shipping port in Europe.

Short transit times to the European consumer

The Port of Antwerp is connected to the 1,500 km long Belgian barge network. Thanks to its inland location, in the middle of the Scheldt-Maas-Rhine-delta, the port is directly connected with the pan-European barge network. The transit times to strategic areas in the European hinterland are therefore relatively short.


38% of the total freight traffic from and to the Port of Antwerp is currently (in 2018) by barge.



Find a connection via the Connectivity Platform


Find a barge operator in Antwerp










Inland terminals create added value

Dozens of inland terminals in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Switzerland  create an added value through different logistics activities: pre- and on-carriage, just-in-time solutions, stuffing and stripping on the terminal and depot for empty containers. Their  direct connection with the port and day-to-day departures ensure an efficient transfer to industrial zones across Europe.


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Services for skippers and barge operators

Different places in the port provide services to barge operators, including electricity supply, degassing, drinking water collection, bilge water collection, etc. Waste collection facilities are also provided in different locations on the Left and Right bank.

A list of all these services is available in the handy barge transport map. It also provides an overview of waiting places, available communication channels and contact details of the locks.


The most current information regarding shore power, waste collection and drinking water for barges in Flanders is available on On this site you can check the availability of shore power connection points in real time, for example.


42% of the total cargo transport in the port must be by barge in 2030

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Improving barge transport infrastructure

The Port Authority wants to expand barge transport services in the field of drinking water supplies, LNG bunkering, shore power and waste collection. And in joint consultation with the barge sector, the Port Authority wants to optimise the policy relating to berths in the port  and provide extra ones where possible. 


Specific projects include:

  • Renovation of Cauwelaerts lock 
  • Construction of berths on the Scheldt, by Ketelplaat 
  • Improvement of the Albert Canal: broaden the canal and make the bridges higher across the canal (9.10m) in favour of container barges with 4 layers  


Download overview extra waiting places


  • In 2016 the Flemish government and the Port Authority built the Kieldrecht lock, the biggest lock in the world. Barges and sea-going vessels have easy access to the other docks on the Left bank through this lock. The lock is 500 metres long, 68 metres wide and has a depth of 17.8 metres. 



More barge transports  

The Port of Antwerp seeks a modal shift of transport flows in favour of barges and rail transport. The Port Authority supports this modal shift through efforts to increase the number of connections and the efficiency of barge transport. 


How will we realize this?


Action plan inland container shipping

On 19 April 2018, the Antwerp port community signed the inland container shipping action plan  and went up a gear to ensure sustainable growth of the port. The agreements revolve around three big pillars: planning and co-operation, bundling and digitisation. The interaction of all these measures must result in an optimisation of inland container shipping and an efficiency increase for all chain partners.



Close cooperation with waterway managers and market players

For policy developments on European, federal, Flemish and local level the Port Authority works closely with NV De Scheepvaart and with 'Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV'. Through various initiatives these waterway managers try to optimise the waterway infrastructure and encourage the use of the waterways.

The Port Authority regularly meets with the barge sector. By joining forces, the port is able to streamline barge transport processes and structures and create a positive dynamic among the various stakeholders.  


Digital applications

C-Point is the electronic communication network of systems and solutions in the Port of Antwerp. It ensures an efficient information exchange and relevant tools for barge operators.



Useful contact data








Marjan Beelen

Consultant Intermodality & Hinterland

Antwerp Port Authority
Port House
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp

Dominique Vercauteren

Consulent Intermodaliteit & achterland

Havenbedrijf Antwerpen
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerpen