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Zeebrugge biggest Belgian Brexit victim?

Published on 06/03/2017

Zeebrugge is seriously exposed to the U.K. as no less than 45 percent of its trade is connected to the United Kingdom - a figure that climbed steadily over the years. Nicknamed "the British port" by CEO Joachim Coens in the past, Zeebrugge could bear the brunt of a Brexit.

Zeebrugge is more oriented towards the U.K. than other ports in the area, such as Antwerp, Rotterdam or Dunkirk. Almost half of the transhipment is connected to Britain, some 17 million tonnes.

Zeebrugge is also Europe’s biggest car port, De Tijd notes. Of the 2.8 million cars that are being transhipped each year, 1 million come from Britain or are destined for the British market. Container traffic is also aimed at the U.K.

You can’t replace 45 percent of your trade just like that

The end for the British car industry?

The Brexit implies that duties will have to be paid on imports and exports. “If we would fall back on the rates applied by the World Trade organisation (WTO) – in the case of a hard Brexit – things will become really rough for us”, says Zeebrugge CEO Joachim Coene. “You can’t replace 45 percent of your trade just like that.”

However, while Zeebrugge is expected to suffer, the British car manufacturing industry is expected to do so as well. Now, car parts for vehicles built in the U.K. travel freely in the EU. It’s end of story for the production of Nissan and Open in the U.K;, European experts estimate.


Flandersnews.be / Expatica