The City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges have come together and reached an agreement to merge their ports.
Upon completion of the merger, which is expected to take a year, the ports will operate under the name Port of Antwerp-Bruges.
The ports say the merger will enable them to strengthen their position within the global supply chain and continue their course towards sustainable growth. The merged port will become a key container and breakbulk port and the largest port for the throughput of vehicles in Europe.
Annick De Ridder, chair of the Antwerp Port Authority, commented: “We are proud of this historic agreement, which seals a long-awaited unification. By joining forces, we are on the way to becoming Europe’s global port, while at the same time reinforcing our position as the most important container port in terms of tonnage, a solid RoRo port and one of the largest break bulk ports in Europe. This will make us even more attractive to our existing customers, to new investors and to all other potential stakeholders, and we will undisputedly be the main driver of Flanders’ economy. Our ambition to bring the two ports together is about much more than simply tonnage and TEUs, however. It will enable us to focus even more firmly on the transition towards a low-carbon economy and to continue our efforts regarding the digitalisation of the supply chain. The ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp are to a large extent complementary and working together will make us more resilient to external challenges.”
Dirk De fauw, mayor of Bruges and chair of Zeebrugge Port Authority, added: “We are looking forward to join forces with the port of Antwerp and, by doing so, to strengthen our position as the most important gateway to Europe. Zeebrugge is the world’s largest automotive hub, a leading RoRo port and an experienced, state-of-the-art natural gas hub. By combining our own strengths with the qualities offered by Antwerp, we will be able to do more and do it better. We will achieve this in the interests of and in consideration of our shared port operations, our city and our region. We will strengthen our joint economic and international position, while simultaneously creating added value for society in general.”
The merger is subject to regulatory approvals.