Towards a prosperous future: building additional container handling capacity in the Antwerp port area

Friday 21 06 2019

Port of Antwerp is the engine of the Belgian economy, with container handling playing a vital role. Year after year the port has been setting new records for the volume of container freight, so that in this respect it is now the second-largest port in Europe. To cope with further growth until 2030 and also to attract international investment in the future, additional capacity of 7 million containers per year is required.


With the ECA Complex Project the Flemish government is considering the best location for this additional handling capacity. The investigation is multidisciplinary, consisting of various detailed studies. 


ECA focuses on three objectives:

  • - Creating additional container handling capacity
  • - Developing associated industrial/logistical sites
  • - Multimodal connections to the main transport network


Based on the results of the study phase and the various consultations, the preferred choice is a combination of expansion and "inspansion" (i.e. repurposing of existing sites).


Start of public inquiry


Freddy Aerts, Chairman of the Flemish government's ECA Complex Project Task Force, explains: "Wide-ranging studies and intensive consultation have been carried out over the past few years in order to determine the impact of possible components and the degree of support among stakeholders. This has enabled us to develop the plans in greater detail and to comply with the principles of complex projects, namely open communication, transparency, participation, customisation and solutions-oriented collaboration. The public inquiry on the subject of the 'draft preference decree' runs from 8 June to 17 August 2019."


Comments can be submitted to or by letter to "Reginald Loyen p/a Department MOW/Beleid, Koning Albert II laan 20 bus 2, 1000 Brussels," or to the municipal councils concerned. 


More info on the ECA Complex Project