• 2018 April 23 13:39

    Container barge transport to become more efficient in the port of Antwerp

    On 19 April 2018, all stakeholders involved in the port of Antwerp signed a roadmap of structural measures to make container barge transport more efficient and further develop it. According to the port, concrete initiatives have been defined for this purpose and drawn up in an implementation plan. With this agreement the parties have not only confirmed their previous commitments but have also worked out structural and above all feasible solutions to permit sustainable growth of container barge transport and of the port of Antwerp itself.

    In the spring of 2017 the rapidly growing freight volumes and the ever larger sizes of seagoing ships calling at the port led to peak load on the terminals, with longer waiting times for container barges as a result. Time to do something about it. With the support of the shipping terminals concerned, together with the barge operators, shipping companies, shippers, forwarders, NxtPort, CEPA, the Flemish Government, Flemish Waterways, Alfaport-Voka (Chamber of Commerce) and Antwerp Port Authority, a declaration of intent was signed on 6 July that year to promote container barge transport in the port. To get from this declaration of intent to a concrete plan of action supported by all the parties, workgroups devoted to particular subjects were started up in September. Altogether some 40 workshops were held.

    “The financial and operational investments to which all parties committed themselves reflect the importance that the stakeholders attach to efficient transport of goods by barge to and from the hinterland. This mode of transport is a crucial player in the economical, sustainable and mobility-friendly model that the port of Antwerp aims for. I would like to thank all parties involved for their unremitting efforts, their expertise and their final result. This is an excellent, future-oriented plan that will benefit the entire port and the barge community,” declared Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren.

    The agreements concentrate on three main areas: planning & collaboration, consolidation and digitisation.

    The combination of all these measures should give new impetus to container barge transport in the port of Antwerp and permit the desired gains in efficiency for all partners in the chain.

    The collaboration between the parties will be intensified by having a more structured, transparent planning process. This will permit greater reliability for barge handling.


    • Commitment by the terminals to provide minimum handling capacity for container barges. Stricter planning (i.e. scheduling) agreements throughout the chain, supported by BTS (Barge Traffic System).
    • Centralised barge scheduling. The three large terminals (PSA, MPET and DP World) are carrying out a large-scale trial to deal with barge scheduling on a port-wide basis, which will simplify and streamline the entire scheduling process for all parties. This new, unique initiative will first be tested in a pilot project (from September onwards), and if the results are positive it will be continued thereafter.
    • Collaboration between the barge operators to streamline their scheduling (from June onwards).

    Consolidation of freight volumes will make it possible to have larger call sizes for the barges being handled on the shipping terminals. This is important in order to make the growth of the port more sustainable. Here too, there will be a trial period as of October. During this trial the minimum call size has been set at 30 containers per call. To help the barge industry make the transition to larger calls, the Flemish government and Antwerp Port Authority have introduced a temporary package of operational and financial subsidies which will gradually taper off.

    Digitisation and centralisation of data will permit more proactive planning and follow-up. NxtPort is taking the initiative in this area and will develop and introduce various new digital applications. The focus here will be on sharing information sooner so that all parties can make gains in efficiency.

    In addition to the above measures, various other peripheral factors for more efficient operation will be examined in the short and medium term. One example could be measures to deal with dock labour shortages. CEPA will make additional efforts to among other things reduce training times for dock workers. Another focus is to have dedicated barge capacity on the shipping terminals. Antwerp Gateway is to start a new construction project in the summer of 2018.

    In the meantime all parties have committed themselves to make their own organisations / companies ready in good time to make the planned changes. This will require personnel training, upgrades to IT systems and extensive internal communication between the organisations / companies concerned.

    Three regional info sessions will be organised in the near future to make stakeholders in the hinterland clearly aware of the measures and the coming changes.

2019 October 18

19:19 New port icebreaker named Ob delivered to FSUE Atomflot
18:54 Port Kolomna hosted ceremony of consecration for pusher tug named Sergey Kladko
18:31 RF Ministry of Transport to expand area banned for navigation near Crimea bridge
18:12 Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Clean Truck Program earns AAPA environmental award
17:57 NUTEP Container Terminal handled three millionth TEU since its operations started in 2004
17:38 Expert RA affirms its ‘ruA’ non-financial company credit rating on DeloPorts
17:13 Port of Virginia buys 25 new hybrid shuttle carriers
17:00 First grain shipment via Sabetta port expected in July 2020 – RF Ministry of Agriculture
16:46 Onezhsky Shipyard delivers buoy tender of Project 3265 named Ladozhsky
16:20 ERMA FIRST invests in METIS Cyberspace Technology
15:45 International organizations unite at IMO
15:14 "K" LINE, MOL, & NYK share data with ONE through the common data platform "IoS-OP"
14:49 Main engines loaded onto lead ship of PV22 project at Nevsky Shipyard
14:12 ESPO publishes European port sector’s Environmental Report 2019
13:53 Blagoveshchensk shipyard resumed construction of modernized seiners of Project 1338
13:32 Total launches its first LNG bunker vessel
13:12 SBM Offshore successful bidder for partner’s minority ownership in SBM Offshore operated FPSO companies
12:54 BIMCO submits proposals to IMO to enhance exchange and harmonization of data
12:31 MSC rules out Arctic exploration on environmental concerns
12:01 British Ports Association publishes new assessment of business environment ahead of annual conference in Belfast
11:30 Port of Antwerp volume up 1.1% in September 2019
11:05 DNV GL awards AiP certificates to HHI for three types of standard mid-sized FPSOs
10:37 RF Navy’s cruiser Marshal Ustinov completes business call to Cyprus
10:03 Hapag-Lloyd announces GRI from East Asia to East Coast South America
09:54 Bunker prices are flat at the port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:36 Baltic Dry Index is down to 1,861 points
09:18 Brent Crude futures price is down 0.50% to $59.61, Light Sweet Crude – down 0.13% to $53.86
09:01 APM Terminals launches global customer alerts solution
08:42 MABUX: Bunker Market this morning, Oct 18
08:05 MOL introduces AR Navigation System at Maritime Conference in Dubai
07:52 The European shipping industry urges the EU to bolster maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea

2019 October 17

18:12 World's first emission-free push boat “Elektra” to have SCHOTTEL propulsion units
17:47 Five vessels call at the port of Brussels to show technological solutions to cut CO2 and air emissions
17:45 Nexans celebrates the next step in the construction of its Aurora cable installation vessel
17:43 Lotos shipyard delivers non-self-propelled cargo pontoon of Project GRPN
17:41 DFDS takes delivery of third Chinese-built RoRo
17:19 RroZero rolls out new 12m Site-Management boat for fish farming markets
16:14 North Sea Port offers online liner services
15:50 Ships detachment of RF Navy’s Pacific Fleet arrive on business call to Kingdom of Thailand
15:26 Maldives received maritime security training from IMO on the ISPS Code
15:02 Maritime policy for sustainable development was in focus of IMO national workshop in Chile
14:37 IMO workshop helps put maritime development in Africa’s mainstream
14:11 VT Halter Marine launches first US-flagged offshore LNG bunker ATB barge for Q-LNG
13:25 Bunker prices are flat at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
13:01 Port of Oakland container volume up 3.1 percent in September 2019
12:41 Thordon to supply propeller shaft bearings for MSC Cruises' third Seaside class cruise ship
12:08 Oboronlogistics launched new shipping line linking ports of Novorossiysk, Tartus, Alexandria and Samsun
11:39 NIBULON MAX made her first cargo trip
11:00 Port of Long Beach posts cargo volume of 707,000 TEUs in September 2019
10:44 Air quality measures make impact at Port of Southampton
10:23 ABP held its annual oil spill exercise on the Humber
10:02 LUKOIL BoD recommends interim dividend amount
09:40 Brent Crude futures price is down 0.67% to $59.02, Light Sweet Crude – down 0.84% to $52.91
09:21 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Oct 17
09:18 Baltic Dry Index is down to 1,897 points
09:04 BOA awarded contracts to charter two vessels for the state’s emergency response preparedness
08:39 LLOG Exploration orders subsea trees for the Shenandoah Project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico

2019 October 16

18:37 Damen partners with TCS for increased vessel connectivity
18:07 AET christens two of the world's first LNG dual-fuel DPSTs to be chartered out to Norway's Equinor
17:35 PSA Marine signs frame agreement with Hydroniq Coolers