Lindemans brewery in Vlezenbeek just outside Brussels has decided to switch from road transport to waterways for shipments of its beers to the port of Antwerp for export. Lindemans is one of a number of brewers of lambic beer situated on the outskirts of Brussels – and in the case of Cantillon within the city itself. The beers based on lambic are much sought-after worldwide, as they are not only typical of an historic type of beer made by spontaneous fermentation using wild yeasts in the air, but also because the brewing method means supplies are not limitless.
Up to now, Lindemans takes its beers from the brewery to the port by lorry. “Lorries would pick up empty containers in the port of Antwerp and bring them here to be filled, after which we would send them back to Antwerp to be shipped,” explained managing director Dirk Lindemans (photo, centre).
That is about to change. Following a trial, Lindemans now intends to send its shipments destined for Asia and America via the inland waterways.
“Now we will be transporting our beer from Vlezenbeek to the port of Brussels, and from there to the port of Antwerp,” Lindemans said. “The empty containers will come back to us the same way. In this way we will be taking around 600 lorries a year off the roads, and producing a good deal less carbon dioxide. And it’s also more flexible. For example we can call on a ship at short notice if we suddenly have an extra order to fill.”
Interviewed by Bruzz, Kobe Govaerts, manager of the Trimodal Terminal at the port of Brussels (right in photo) pointed out that the waterways method is no more expensive. “And we can provide the containers with a special protective cover which protects the shipment during the crossing to America,” he said. “In some areas temperatures can go down to minus 20 degrees.”