The Antwerp Port Authority has been campaigning for 12 shallow points to be dredged in the Scheldt for a number of years, thereby enabling tidal-independent navigation of ships with a draught of up to 13.10 m (43ft). Until now the Authority has been confident that “good neighbourliness” offered the best prospects for deepening the navigation channel.
It was on the basis that Flanders and the Antwerp port communities had been sympathetic to the Dutch demands and preconditions to meet the Belgian, Flemish and Antwerp requests for dredging. This in turn led to constructive collaboration in drawing up a long-term vision for the Western Scheldt until 2030.
However, the start of the project has been repeatedly delayed and in December 2005, when the ‘Scheldt Treaties’ were signed, it was believed that the project would go ahead.