The European funding programme Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) has awarded €10.91m (US$13m) to the complex project Extra Container Capacity Antwerp (ECA), underlining the importance of the need for future-proof infrastructure.
CEF supports projects that have a significant positive impact on the European transport network and the money awarded to ECA will be used to carry out detailed studies to identify the most sustainable solution in order to create a supported project that reconciles the needs of the economy, the environment and the climate.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp, said: “The container segment has continued to grow, even during the challenging year we have just experienced. This therefore confirms the the urgent need for additional capacity.
“However, the manner in which we create that additional capacity is at least as important. It must be achieved in a sustainable way that respects the climate and the environment, so that is why we are fully engaged in realising a more carefully designed project that is future-proof and climate-friendly at the same time.”
Port of Antwerp and the department of Mobility and Public Works submitted a joint application in connection with the studies that form part of ECA to the European Commission when it launched a call for applications for funding under the CEF programme earlier this year.
The planned studies on which the funding will be used to finance form part of the elaboration phase of the project and are essential to ensure it is implemented in a way that most effectively serves the needs of the community, while also enhancing quality of life.
Besides expansion, the project will also focus on optimising the use of land within the existing port area.
The technical study into the design of the second tidal dock envisages a solution that will ensure maximum efficiency, while minimising the impact on the environment.
Port of Antwerp is seeing a significant increase in all cargo flows, with the container segment witnessing the biggest growth, and thus extra capacity at the port is essential to absorb the expected growth.
Annick De Ridder, Antwerp port alderman, said: “This European support once again confirms the importance of ECA for our port, and also underlines the value that Europe attaches to this dossier.
“The importance of the container sector for the Port of Antwerp should not be underestimated, and our growth figures in this segment confirm the need for extra capacity year after year.”
ECA aims to bring about a modal shift, in which goods will increasingly be transported by inland navigation and rail.
This will reduce emissions and optimise the connection with the hinterland, which will be of value both to the economy and also to the environment.
The project represents a crucial step in the Port of Antwerp’s vision of being a home port for a sustainable future.
The ‘dock of the future’ will take the form of hyper-efficient terminals and high productivity, combined with an exceptionally low footprint.
Emissions from ships and from terminals in the port will be kept to a minimum by means of low-emission handling technologies, shore-based power, circular construction techniques and stricter regulations.
Logistics-wise, ECA will in turn act as the lever that will enable transportation to become more environmentally friendly through the use of rail and inland navigation.