Antwerp port will be expanded with limited new dock, Doel will remain
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    Antwerp port will be expanded with limited new dock, Doel will remain

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    The Flemish government decided to expand the Antwerp port with a limited new dock so that the town of Doel can continue to exist. The port will be expanded by seven million new containers. “The expansion is necessary to be able to continue to achieve sustainable growth and consolidate our international leadership position and role as a motor for the Belgian economy,” the port company Havenbedrijf Antwerpen said in a press statement.

    The Flemish government has chosen the so-called ninth alternative for the expansion of the port of Antwerp, which combines a limited new dock that connects to the existing Deurganck dock with new container capacity via a more compact building strategy.

    This means that the small town of Doel can continue to exist. Ben Weyts (N-VA), the Flemish Minister for Mobility, now wants to see what the best scenario is, but it is not the intention to turn it into an entirely inhabited village again, reported Belgian media.

    The port calls the preferential decision “an important next step”. The extra container capacity is necessary, according to the port’s chief executive Jacques Vandermeiren, “demonstrated by the record growth figures that we have reached in the past years,” he said to Het Laatste Nieuws.

    “This decision is the result of constructive cooperation between the parties involved in recent years,” said Antwerp Alderman for Port Annick De Ridder to Het Laatste Nieuws.

    “We are already calling on the next Flemish government to continue to put forward the economic urgency of this file. Only together can we achieve the predicted sustainable growth of our port and guarantee the future of economic prosperity for Flanders,” she added.

    The port of Antwerp had a record for the sixth year in a row in 2018. In May, more than one million containers were handled for the second time in history.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times