Deurganck dock to operate 24 hours a day
Antwerp’s busiest dock will operate round the clock during the week, which the port hopes will ease container traffic on the roads during peak hours
Starting on 20 March, they will be open for loading and unloading 24 hours a day during the week. That will allowed freight traffic to be spread out over 24 hours, the port said, reducing congestion on the notorious Antwerp ring.
“The transport sector has been pleading for years for a better spread of freight traffic,” said Philippe Degraef of industry federation Febetra. “Existing infrastructure needs to be put to better use.”
But logistics experts said the effect was likely to be minimal. In 1999, logistics company Noordnatie carried out a test on 24-hour loading and unloading and abandoned the exercise shortly after, said a spokesperson for sector association TLV.
“We have to get somewhere with our cargo during those off-peak hours,” he explained to De Standaard this week. “Imagine: a lorry picks up a container from the port at 3.00. Most are destined for a client within 150 kilometres or less. The lorry is at its destination within two or three hours, but factories and businesses are usually only open by 9.00, so the driver has more than two hours to wait.”
That means, the spokesperson said, that the gains from avoiding sitting in traffic are lost from drivers being paid to wait for factory gates to open. The only solution, he said, was for the entire logistics chain to operate 24 hours a day, not just two container terminals.
Photo courtesy Havenbedrijf Antwerpen
Port of Antwerp
barges entering the port daily
companies in the greater port area
tonnes of freight handled in 2012