Port of Antwerp conducts noise study to measure nuisance after complaints

Port of Antwerp conducts noise study to measure nuisance after complaints
Archive image. Credit: Port of Antwerp

The Port of Antwerp has conducted a noise study to measure the nuisance level in response to complaints from local residents.

“The Port of Antwerp takes the concerns of local residents regarding noise pollution to heart,” the port said in a press release announcing the collaboration with the municipality of Beveren.

The mayor there said that noise pollution is something for which they are vigilant.

“We permanently monitor the situation on site, so that in the future additional measures can be taken to improve the liveability of the neighbourhood and to further reduce the noise level,” said Mayor Marc Van de Vijver.

With the help of noise meters among local residents, measurements in the port and a measurement on a ship, the agency De Fonseca was appointed by the port to investigate which sources can cause nuisance noise.

The results showed that the noise of certain ships’ engines accounts for a share of the perceived nuisance, but that there are other sources as well, which need to be investigated further.

The Port of Antwerp appointed a noise expert to analyse the results of the noise measuring devices given to local residents and carry out measurements in the port itself.

A number of businesses and shipping companies were also willing to carry out measurements on their ships.

But it was not always possible to establish a direct link between the measured noise and the ships that moved in or were moored at Verrebroek and Doeldok, which is why further research is being recommended.

“Only by mapping everything clearly can appropriate measures be taken to limit the nuisance for the surrounding area as much as possible,” the port said.

“On the basis of the current report, the most efficient solutions for sea-going vessels to reduce the noise level have already been examined.”

Port alderman Annick De Ridder said that a follow-up investigation has been planned, along with more research into what measures can be implemented in cooperation with terminals and shipping companies in order to further reduce the noise nuisance.

“As port authority we are working hard to strike a balance between a port that grows sustainably and its environment. This is not always obvious,” said De Ridder.

“It is our intention to limit noise nuisance as much as possible. Port of Antwerp will investigate what mitigating measures can be taken.”

One potential cause for noise is older ships, which in time will be replaced by newer, more modern ones that are quieter.

“Moreover, these new ships will increasingly be equipped with batteries (hybrid system) or with a shore power connection, so that in the future they will no longer need to run generators for their on-board power supply during their stay at the quay,” said De Ridder.

Efforts to reduce noise will also be made by companies that operate in the port.

“We are also going to further investigate with the terminals if and how further investments in all kinds of electric vehicles, which produce less noise during cargo operations, are possible,” the companies Grimaldi and AET said.

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