Port Authority launches market survey for water bus

Publication date: 
29 Apr 2016

In order to make the project for an Antwerp water bus a reality, the Port Authority is now launching an international market survey to gather more information.

A water bus on the river Scheldt. Since the announcement by port alderman Marc Van Peel several months ago that Antwerp Port Authority is to introduce this new and above all sustainable transport service, lots of hard work has been going on behind the scenes to get the first water bus line operational by the summer of 2017. “Port companies and Antwerp people in general are very enthusiastic about this new initiative,” declared Marc Van Peel. “The water bus concept has already proved its worth in other cities. In a city such as Antwerp with the second-largest port in Europe it must be possible to successfully introduce such an initiative and develop it further.”

In order to make the project for an Antwerp water bus a reality, the Port Authority is now launching an international market survey to gather more information. Based on a series of questions the Port Authority aims to get a better idea of the existing players for operation of a water bus and the types of vessel available on the market. It also wishes to test the reactions of the market to the concept that has been developed so far. Based on the information obtained, the next step will be to issue an invitation to tender for somebody to operate the water bus.

Sustainable mobility
A series of major infrastructure projects in the next few years will have an important impact on mobility and accessibility in the Antwerp region. With the water bus the Port Authority aims to offer port employees a sustainable alternative for fast, efficient travel between home and work. “An efficient water bus service should persuade people to leave their car at home,” the port alderman explained. “The river is an empty highway just waiting to be used for travel between home and work, so it’s up to us to take maximum advantage of this opportunity as part of the programme of infrastructure work.” The water bus will be aimed initially at commuters, but it will also serve tourists and leisure travellers.

Based on extensive discussions and analyses over the past few months the Port Authority has mapped out three lines for the water bus. The first line, the “Port line,” runs from Antwerp city centre (Steenplein square) to Fort Liefkenshoek in Beveren and will help to take some of the load off the existing Scheldt crossings which have now reached saturation point. The second is a cycle ferry over the Canal dock, near Lillo bridge. This bridge is unreliable for cyclists, frequently forcing them to choose between long waiting times or a 10 kilometre detour. The third or “Region” line goes from Temse to Antwerp city centre (Steenplein square) and will mainly carry passengers upstream towards Antwerp.

These routes are not yet definitive and will have to be further refined in consultations with companies in the port and the ultimate operator. Since a number of the stops have not yet been built, the different lines will come into operation in stages.

With the link below you can download some images, mostly of the Steenplein square, one of the stops of the new water bus. Copyright Antwerp Port Authority.