Zeebrugge harbour all set for super ships
Yesterday saw the start of major construction works on the CHZ East Quay at the port of Zeebrugge. The container quay’s dredging to a depth of 16 meters will provide easy access for the new generation of container ships to be launched in 2013. Port chairman Joachim Coens and the governor of West Flanders Paul Breyne joined Flemish Minister of Public Works Hilde Crevits CD&V during a symbolic start to the dredging works. The works will be executed by the Belgian construction group Besix and the building contractor Depret from Zeebrugge. In an effort to streamline the loading and offloading of ships sailing to and from Asia, the project will be completed in phases. With 49 million tons of freight passing through the harbour this year, 2011 could possibly be considered the second best year ever in the history of the port. And yet the port will not rest on its laurels but rather look to the future. As the CHZ is one of the oldest quays in the harbour, renovations are essential to prepare it for the new generation of super container ships. An increasing number of ships with a draught of 15 meters moor at Flemish ports. With a depth of only 14.5 meters on a 600-meter section of the CHZ quay, this dredging project was necessary. In addition to dredging operations, the quay’s infrastructure will also be improved to facilitate the efficient handling of the current traffic of ships loaded with 10,000 to 14,500 super containers. This will increase to 18,000 in 2013. Built to accommodate the growing traffic between Europe and Asia in particular, the project will cost a total of 25 million euros. The Zeebrugge port authority will pay 20 million euros and the government of Flanders will finance the remainder. “The port authority made a huge effort. Our investment underwrites Flanders’ support of Zeebrugge as deep-sea port,” Minister Crevits confirmed.