Coronavirus - Port of Antwerp Taskforce reconvened: the port remains open and operational

Coronavirus - Port of Antwerp Taskforce reconvened: the port remains open and operational

The Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce convened again this afternoon. The port is part of Belgium's essential infrastructure, playing a crucial role in supplying Belgium and Europe. The port will remain 100% operational during this second wave of the coronavirus. This is thanks to the daily efforts and commitment of all its staff. At the meeting of the reconvened taskforce, a number of focus points were set out regarding the additional measures imposed by the National Security Council and the province of Antwerp.

Another meeting of the Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce took place today. The participants in the taskforce believe it remains essential to monitor the situation, and ensure that the port stays operational. At the meeting of the taskforce, it was once again stressed that keeping the port operational is a joint priority, to maintain our country's supplies.

Port platform operational

The port platform is currently operating flawlessly. Up until now, only isolated cases of the virus have been confirmed. There has not been any rise in absenteeism due to illness, in comparison with last year. The taskforce is continuously monitoring the situation with a view to possible additional measures.

As always, all incoming ships must present a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH), whereby the captain must indicate 24 hours before entry into port whether there are any infected persons or suspicions of infected persons on board, as well as a list of the last ten ports of call. The ship is then screened by Saniport (FPS Public Health).

The existing measures have been reconfirmed and additional communication is envisaged in this regard:

  • Basic preventive hygiene measures
  • Providing sufficient disinfectants in machines
  • Exchanging documents digitally as much as possible, thereby minimising human contact
  • Crews of ships and quayside staff will primarily communicate remotely (by radio, telephone)
  • Applying the rules of social distancing, as far as possible and in particular keeping a distance of 1.5 meters between each person

Economic impact

Despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis on global production and logistics chains and a pandemic-driven drop in demand, the economic damage for the port remained limited. Total transhipments fell by 4.9% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019. After a strong first quarter, the port witnessed an expected decline in the transhipment of all flows of goods, with the exception of the container sector. For the third quarter, while the Port of Antwerp is still expecting blank sailings, it is also seeing the first signs of recovery and an upturn in the European economy.

The Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce will convene on an ad hoc basis. For more information, port employees, customers and other parties can visit the coronavirus webpage and mailbox.

About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 287 million tonnes per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. The port is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides, directly and indirectly, a total of around 164,000 jobs and generates an added value of 21 billion euros.
The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society. 

The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors, the Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is the Vice-President. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management.

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to [email protected]

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp