Port of Antwerp-Bruges: draught record broken at Deurganck Dock

Port of Antwerp-Bruges: draught record broken at Deurganck Dock

First 16-metre draft trial successful

The first trial run with maximum permitted draught on the Western Scheldt has been successfully carried out. Indeed, the MSC Tessa entered the Port of Antwerp this morning with a draft of 16 metres, a new record. It is the latest in a series of six trial runs where the draft was increased from 15.7 to 16 metres. This draught is needed to continue receiving the very largest container ships in the future. The pilot project is a collaboration between the Flemish and Dutch Pilotage Services, shipping company MSC, the Joint Nautical Authority and Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

In order to allow even the very largest seagoing vessels to use Antwerp as their first port of call in the future, a draught on approach of 16 metres is needed. It was therefore decided to carry out a series of trial runs in which the maximum draught is systematically increased to 16 metres. Increasing the authorised draught significantly increases the cargo capacity of the vessels. These extra decimetres could yield +/- 1,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) gains.

On 1 March 2021, the MSC Regulus entered the port with a draft of 15.7 metres and on 9 July 2022, the record was broken again with a draft of 15.9 metres with the MSC Diletta. So on Monday 2 October 2023, the first trial run, with a draft of 16 metres, was successfully conducted with the MSC Tessa. The ship entered the port from Portugal, moored at MPET (MSC PSA European Terminal) and thus broke the depth record in the Deurganck dock.

The pilot project is a collaboration between the Flemish pilots of the Agency for Maritime Services and Coast (MDK) the Dutch pilots, shipping company MSC, the Joint Nautical Authority (GNA), traffic controllers and Port of Antwerp-Bruges. The widening applies only to container ships sailing to the Deurganck dock.

Annick De Ridder, Vice-Mayor of the City of Antwerp and President of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “This successful first trial in the Deurganck dock is a milestone for our port. For our global economic position and the prosperity of current and future generations, it is essential that we can continue to receive the largest container ships. A draught of 16m allows us to profile ourselves even more strongly in the Far East, where the largest ships sail. This will strengthen our position as the first port of call. This gives us a competitive advantage and consolidates our position as a world port.”
Nathalie Balcaen, Administrator-General of the Agency for Maritime Services and Coast: “Glad to be able to contribute to the accessibility of the port of Antwerp from MDK. Thanks to our partners in the nautical chain and the expertise of our own services such as the Pilotage, Shipping Assistance and Flemish Hydrography.”
Marc Beerlandt, CEO MSC Belgium: “MSC welcomes the fact that our longstanding demand, to be able to get by with a greater draught at our home base, the port of Antwerp, is being acted upon and this is now finally being tested further. It is evident that the shipping company wants to maximise the vessels' performance to and from its European hub. ​ We thank the pilots and port authorities for helping to make this happen."
Johan Van Daele, CEO MPET: "I would like to thank everyone who worked on this and I am of course proud that the MSC Tessa moored with us. If we want to strengthen the competitive position of our port and increase imports, including from the Far East, we must continue to work on increasing the draught. At MPET we are already ready for it, as we have already proven with the efficient handling of the MSC Tessa."
MSC Tessa - copyright PSA Belgium
MSC Tessa - copyright PSA Belgium


Copyright header – PSA Belgium

About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 271 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 communicatie@portofantwerpbruges.com

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Zaha Hadidplein 1
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