Sustainable cities and communities


For centuries, the port of Antwerp has provided prosperity and jobs in the surrounding cities and municipalities. Port of Antwerp wants to do more and mean more. The port and its surroundings form an ecosystem and, together, we want to create opportunities for a sustainable future. This is why we are investing in mobility, safety and environmental quality.

An accessible port

The port must remain accessible for people and goods. Only a major shift in modes of transport can offer a sustainable solution. We are working with conviction on a modal shift. By 2030, we will be shifting to more freight transport by rail, inland navigation and pipelines.

modal shift

In addition, we promote sustainable transport alternatives for employees, such as collective transport, DeWaterbus, Fietsbus, safe cycle paths, etc. Cycling to work also contributes to the health of our employees.



Along with the companies at the port, we are taking measures to reduce pollution in the air, water, soil and environment. This is how we can work on the quality of the environment for our communities and surrounding cities.

Air quality

Port of Antwerp already offers barges shore power, but we also want to roll this out for seagoing vessels. We concluded an agreement with Alfaport-VOKA and five technical partners to further develop the shore power network. We want all ships at the port to be able to use electricity from the quay and switch off their engines when they are at the quay. This is good for air quality and for the ship's engines. In addition, ships that emit less are given a discount. We have been setting a good example for some time by using this shore-based power system with our own fleet.


The Flemish Environmental Society (VMM) monitors the air quality at the port of Antwerp by means of a measurement network with about twenty measuring points. In addition, Port of Antwerp is rolling out a measurement network with sensors for the monitoring of volatile organic hydrocarbons. We are doing this for the enforcement of ship degassing. Through structural collaboration with the agency, our measurements show that the concentration of NOx (nitrogen oxides) in the air has consistently decreased between 1996 and 2017. Since 2007, the annual average concentration has always been below the European standard of 40µg/m³.

Water quality

The port of Antwerp owes its success to the Scheldt. This is why it is important to Port of Antwerp that we improve the water quality at the port. In the summer of 2020, along with the Flemish government and contractor SeReAnt, we started dredging and sustainably processing the most polluted sludge in the docks. The removal of the so-called TBT mortar is having a substantial impact on the water quality in the docks.


Plastics have a place at the port, but that place is not in the Scheldt or in nature. Port of Antwerp is taking various actions aimed at preventing pollution and cleaning up waste and plastics in order to protect fauna, flora and ourselves. We are constantly innovating with a view to a cleaner port.

Port of Antwerp was the first European port to sign the Operation Clean Sweep charter at the end of 2017. The main objective is to avoid litter in seawater. To this end, we launched the Zero Pellet Loss’ platform and brought together fifteen port companies from the entire chain of transport, industry and logistics. In 2019, the ‘Zero Pellet Loss’ platform launched an action plan with numerous measures for preventing the loss of plastic pellets, whether during production, transport, storage or processing.


At the Doel Dock, ‘Patje Plastic’ is fishing out floating waste and plastics so that they do not spread further along the waterways. The design from the Dutch company Allseas is made from 75% recycled materials. The plastic catcher is completely mechanical and uses only wind, water and gravity to keep the dock water clean.

JEvery year, Port of Antwerp, in collaboration with Natuurpunt and Mooimakers, organises a clean-up campaign in the Galgeschoor nature reserve. Some 400 volunteers clean up an average of 8 tons of waste during the Galgeschoor Port Clean-up. With this action, we are aiming to make port employees, local residents and the general public more aware of how to deal with waste.

Not all the pollution at the Galgeschoor can be cleaned up by hand. The nature reserve suffers from historical pollution from plastic pellets. Port of Antwerp launched a competition in search of an innovative way to tackle this pollution. The winner, the Nul-O-Plastic, by Jan De Nul / Envisan, is an experimental vacuum cleaner on caterpillar tracks. It sucks up the plastic pellets in the nature reserve without damaging it. The Nul-O-Plastic has been operational since September 2020.

Unpleasant odours

Since 2017, 23 virtual noses have been set up at the port of Antwerp. The innovative iNoses identify harmful gases at the port. They are equipped with tubes that make it possible to take air samples from a distance. In time, they will provide an insight into the hotspots and trends of emissions at the port. Port of Antwerp aims to use this data to warn local residents as soon as unpleasant odours are blowing in their direction.

Nature conservation

The Scheldt is a unique river delta and is home to a complex European ecosystem. Because of its location in this important nature area, the port of Antwerp is bound by strict European nature regulations. Port of Antwerp and society are therefore partners in the management of this unique nature. They are committed to conserving them and facilitating the union between nature, port development and agriculture.

Port of Antwerp is financially co-responsible and contributes to the establishment and management of temporary and permanent nature reserves on the Right and Left Banks. We are creating new nature reserves in order to achieve European conservation objectives. We are also a partner of the Groot Saeftinghe Frontier Park. We are opening up the existing nature reserves to the public as far as possible through boardwalks, viewing huts or walls, elevated footpaths, etc.

Port of Antwerp has a species protection programme that is unique to Flanders. In collaboration with Natuurpunt, we are building a network of ecological infrastructure. This allows protected plant and animal species to move through the port area.


Along with farmers, Port of Antwerp is trying to make the conversion to agriculture that supports nature. Through the Agriculture Innovation Fund, among other things, we are supporting farmers in the conversion to nature-friendly cultivation and land management.


Port of Antwerp ensures that the port is accessible to anyone who wants to get to know its history, industry and nature reserves. The Port House, Portopolis, the Port Center, The Beacon and other locations are gateways to the port that are open to the general public and for all kinds of events.

Port of Antwerp is entering into dialogue and collaborating with its environment and stakeholders. For example, along with BASF Antwerp and Randstad Belgium, we founded the Sustainable Transformation Chair at Antwerp Management School (AMS). We also regularly organise a sounding board meeting with NGOs. And we and our partners were there are the very beginnings of the Antwerp Partnership for Sustainability. This platform for bringing together all the sustainable initiatives in the province of Antwerp and for sharing knowledge was created in collaboration with the province of Antwerp, the city council, UA and AMS.

We are strong because of our partners and our community. We therefore find it important to capture questions, complaints, reports and ideas from our surroundings. This was why we set up our Servicedesk.