Saudi firm plans €3.7 billion investment in Antwerp


The Saudi Arabian firm Energy Recovery Systems is first in line to replace MSC’s container terminal, which is moving to the left bank of the Scheldt

Waste to chemicals

The board of the port of Antwerp has given the go-ahead to a project that would see a Saudi Arabian company investing an estimated €3.7 billion in the port, with the creation of up to 900 jobs.

The project submitted by Energy Recovery Systems involves a waste-to-chemicals plant to be installed on the Delwaide Dock on the right bank of the Scheldt. The location is currently occupied by a container terminal operated by the Swiss shipping line MSC, which is slated to move to the new Deurganck dock on the left bank.

A year ago, the Port Authority asked for ideas of how to replace the MSC terminal, and received a number of suggestions. The proposal from Energy Recovery Systems has now won the board’s approval. The new plant takes plastic waste and breaks it down into raw materials – mainly ammonia and urea - for use by the chemicals industry. If the plant takes up all of the 150 hectares available, it would become the largest of its kind in the world.

ERS representatives are scheduled to meet today with Marc Van Peel, Antwerp’s alderman for port affairs, and port authority managing director Eddy Bruyninckx.

Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever sees the project as an important contribution to Antwerp’s future. “An investment of this scope in a wholly new production site within the petrochemical cluster would strengthen the position of the port,” he said. “By working for the sustainability of economic activity in the port, we will be able to better situate Antwerp as an important player in the chemicals sector.”

Photo courtesy Arminius/Wikimedia

Port of Antwerp

The port of Antwerp is Europe’s second-largest port and one of the world’s most important ports for container traffic.
Going green - The port’s first-ever sustainability report won it the Award for Best Belgian Sustainability Report.
Size - The port takes up more space than the actual city of Antwerp.
Roots - Historians have found evidence for the port’s existence dating back to the 12th century.

barges entering the port daily


companies in the greater port area


tonnes of freight handled in 2012