Draught record broken at Deurganck dock

Friday 12 03 2021
(Copyright: MSC)

The first trial run for extending the draught on the Western Scheldt river has been successfully carried out. It is the first in a series of trial runs for testing the potential for a draught of up to 16 metres.

The current maximum draught of the Western Scheldt river for container ships calling at Antwerp is 15.5 metres. In order to allow the largest seagoing vessels to use Antwerp as their first port of call in the future, however, a draught of 16 metres is required at inlet.


First trial run successful

On Sunday 28 February, the MSC Regulus, with a draught of 15.7 metres, reached the port of Antwerp. By carrying out trial runs, the maximum draught can gradually be expanded to 16 metres. 


Close collaboration between Flanders and the Netherlands

The pilot project is a collaboration between Port of Antwerp, the Flemish and Dutch Pilotage, the Common Nautical Management (GNA), the traffic controllers and the shipping company MSC. Both Flemish and Dutch pilots are taking part. The deepening is progressing in phases. Each draught test is followed by an evaluation. After the six trial runs, the final decision on the inlet of ships with a draught of up to 16 metres will follow. The deepening only applies to container ships sailing to the Deurganck dock.  


Ready for the future

“We are particularly enthusiastic about this successful trial run and the new draught record,” says Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer at Port of Antwerp. “For our worldwide economic position, supplying this country, which is so important, and the prosperity of current and future generations, it's essential that we can receive the very largest container ships and that they can choose Antwerp as their first port of call.”


Read the complete press release.