Port of Antwerp
Overview
 
The port of Antwerp, in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, is a port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 in the heart of Europe
Blue Banana
The Blue Banana is a discontinuous corridor of urbanisation in Western Europe, with a population of around 110 million. It stretches approximately from North West England in the north to Milan in the south...

 accessible to capesize
Capesize
Capesize ships are cargo ships originally too large to transit the Suez Canal . To travel between oceans, such vessels used to have to pass either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. In effect Capesize reads as "unlimited"...

 ships. Antwerp stands at the upper end of the tidal estuary of the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

. The estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 is navigable by ships of more than 100,000 Gross Tons
Ton
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

 as far as 80 km inland. The inland location means that the port of Antwerp enjoys a more central location in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 than the majority of North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 ports.
Encyclopedia
The port of Antwerp, in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, is a port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 in the heart of Europe
Blue Banana
The Blue Banana is a discontinuous corridor of urbanisation in Western Europe, with a population of around 110 million. It stretches approximately from North West England in the north to Milan in the south...

 accessible to capesize
Capesize
Capesize ships are cargo ships originally too large to transit the Suez Canal . To travel between oceans, such vessels used to have to pass either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. In effect Capesize reads as "unlimited"...

 ships. Antwerp stands at the upper end of the tidal estuary of the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

. The estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 is navigable by ships of more than 100,000 Gross Tons
Ton
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

 as far as 80 km inland. The inland location means that the port of Antwerp enjoys a more central location in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 than the majority of North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 ports. Antwerp's docks are connected to the hinterland by rail, waterway and road. As a result the port of Antwerp has become one of Europe's largest sea ports, ranking second behind Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...

 by total freight shipped. Its international rankings vary from 11th to 20th (AAPA
American Association of Port Authorities
The American Association of Port Authorities ' is a trade association, founded in 1912, that represents over 150 port authority organizations throughout the Western Hemisphere....

). In 2009, the Port of Antwerp handled 157,800,000 MT of trade and offered liner services to 800 different maritime destinations .

Recent history

Antwerp's potential was recognized by Napoleon Bonaparte and he ordered the construction of Antwerp's first lock and dock in 1811. Called the Bonaparte Dock, it was joined by a second dock - called the Willem Dock after the Dutch King - in 1813. When the Belgian revolution broke out in 1830, there was a well-founded fear that the Dutch would blockade the Scheldt again but, in the event, they contented themselves with levying a stiff toll.
Fortunately, the young Belgium had friends in Britain and particularly in the person of Lord Palmerston, who believed the existence of Belgium would be beneficial to Britain, and that, in consequence, it was important to make sure that the newly born state was economically viable.
With his support, the Belgian government was able to redeem the Dutch Toll in 1863. By that time, the Kattendijk Dock had been completed in 1860 and the all important Iron Rhine Railway to the [Ruhr] had been finished in 1879. Antwerp then experienced a second golden age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

 and by 1908 eight docks had been constructed. The opening of the Royers Lock, commenced in 1905, meant that ships drawing up to 31 feet (9.4 m) of water were able to enter the existing docks and access the new Lefèbvre and America docks.
Such was the situation at the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918).

The British, and Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, then First Lord of the Admiralty, in particular were well aware of the Port of Antwerp's strategic importance, so much so that Churchill arrived in Antwerp on 4 October 1914 to take charge of the defence of the city and its port.

Allied forces liberated Antwerp on 4 September 1944. The port and facilities were relatively undamaged and no major reconstruction work was required. However, Walcheren
Walcheren
thumb|right|250px|Campveer Tower in Veere, built in 1500Walcheren is a former island in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Oosterschelde in the north and the Westerschelde in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus...

 was the key that allowed use of the port, located further upstream on the right bank of the southern estuary
Western Scheldt
The Western Scheldt in the province Zeeland in the southwestern Netherlands, is the estuary of the Scheldt river. This river once had several estuaries, but the others are disconnected from the Scheldt, leaving the Westerschelde as its only direct way to the sea. It is an important shipping route...

 of the river. Walcheren was attacked by Canadian and British forces and on 8 November all German resistance on the island had been overrun. An agreement assigned a large portion of the northern section of the port to the Americans and the southern section and the city of Antwerp to the British forces. The first US cargo vessel James B. Weaver arrived on 28 November 1944 with men of the 268th Port Company and their equipment on board. By mid-December the port was operating in high gear and, on average, some 9,000 civilians were employed by the Americans. Despite enemy air attacks, rockets and buzz bombs, operations were never entirely halted, although they were interrupted. In the first half year of 1945, the average amount of cargo discharged was around 0.5 million tons per month. After the close of the hostilities in Europe, the port was used for shipments of ammunition, vehicles, tanks and personnel to the Pacific
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

. After the capitulation of Japan, shipments were directed to the United States. As from November 1945 the activities declined and by October 1946 all US Army operations ceased.

When peace returned work started on the Grote Doorsteek, an ambitious plan which ultimately resulted in the extension of the docklands on the right bank of the Scheldt to the Dutch border. The construction of the Berendrecht Lock was the crowning element of this plan. It is the world's largest shipping lock and it was inaugurated in 1989. Since 1989, development has been concentrated on the creation of fast turnround tidal berths, both on the Right Bank (Europa Terminal and the North Sea Terminal) and on the Left Bank (Deurganck Dock).

Port lay-out

The Right Bank

With the opening of the Berendrecht Lock (1989), a crowning achievement in developing the right bank dock complex was obtained. With a length of 500 m between the lock gates and a width of 68 m, the Berendrecht lock is the largest lock in the world. This lock has a depth of 13.50 m, which makes the sill depth at mean high water equal to 17.75 m. Apart from the Lock, still further development of the right bank has been undertaken on the banks of the Scheldt outside the dock complex. Two large container terminals have been opened here. In 1990, the Europe terminal was operative, while secondly, the North Sea terminal became operative in 1997.
The older areas of the port, such as the Bonaparte dock, are being modernized as needs dictate to make them suitable for modern cargo handling operations. Among this modernisation, an upgrade of the Amerika dock, the Albert dock and the third harbour dock are being done to make them accessible to Panamax ships, which have a draught of 42 feet (13 m). Other modernisation projects being undertaken is the Delwaide dock, which will soon be able to serve the latest generation of container vessels. The Southern part of the Delwaide dock, the MSC Home Terminal is a partnership between PSA Hesse-Noord Natie and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC
Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.
Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. is the world's largest shipping line in terms of container vessel capacity. MSC operates 469 vessels and has a capacity of...

). Due to a total quay length of more than 2 km, several ships can be handled at the same time. The MSC Home Terminal has an annual capacity of more than .

The Left Bank

The first plans for the development of the Waaslandhaven on Antwerp’s left bank were prepared in the boom years of the 1960s. At that time, it was hoped that agreement could be reached with the Dutch on the construction of the Baalhoek Canal, which would have run from Kallo in Belgium through the Drowned Land of Saefthinge (on Dutch territory) into the Western Scheldt. This grand concept had the advantage that it would cut off the difficult bend known as the Bocht van Bath and facilitate access to deep draught ships.

Work started on the Kallo Lock in 1979, and by the end of the 1980s the basic outlines of the Waaslandhaven were by and large complete. The main constituents are the Waasland Canal, the Verrebroek Dock, and the Vrasene Dock. The abandonment of the Baalhoek Canal project meant that an additional dock, known as the Doel Dock, would never be fitted out for shipping.

The development of the sites in the new docklands got off to a slow start, but took off in the nineties. Nowadays, the trades handled in the Vrasene Dock include forest products, fruit juice, cars, plastic granulates, scrap and bulk gas.
The equipping of the Verrebroek Dock started in 1996 and saw the arrival of its first seagoing ship in 2000. When finalized, this dock will offer a total of 5 km of berths with a draught of 14.5 m.

The Deurganck Dock

Since the existing container terminals on the right bank of the Scheldt have reached their maximum capacity and the container freight volume keeps increasing (in 2007 it expanded by 8.2% to ), a new dock complex was constructed: the Deurganck dock. The first terminal in this dock was opened on July 6, 2005. The full capacity of the dock is estimated at more than . The Deurganck dock has a length of 2.5 km and consists of a total of 1,200,000 cubic metres of concrete. The construction of the Deurganck dock, however, is still an issue since the future of a local village, Doel
Doel
Doel is a subdivision of the municipality of Beveren in the Flemish province of Oost-Vlaanderen. It is located near the river the Scheldt, in a polder of the Waasland....

, cannot be guaranteed.

Future

In October 2010, the port approved a long-term investment plan, worth 1.6 billion Euros over the next 15 years. The port would improve existing facilities, and buy land from General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

which is closing its Antwerp factory.

External links

  • http://www.portofantwerp.com
  • http://www.dockwork.be The port of Antwerp in pictures


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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