Meeting the need for sustainable port development through cross-border cooperation

Four Belgian port authorities – Antwerp, Ghent, Ostend and Zeebrugge in Flanders - and two Dutch seaports – Terneuzen and Vlissingen in Zeeland - have joined forces to promote sustainable development. 

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Port of Ghent Port of Ghent

" By setting up a structure for knowledge sharing and exchange of experiences among ports, we will be able to become more sustainable. We will also learn about the different methods used across key ports to lessen our own ecological footprint "

Saskia Walters, Advisor, Port of Ghent

A so-called learning network has been established under the “Duurzame Zeehavens” (Sustainable Seaports) project that holds coordination and consultation meetings between the project partners. A dedicated website has also been set up, providing a wealth of information for key stakeholders.

Sharing study results

The project team also carried out several studies on solar and wind energy, sustainable buildings and the efficient use of resources. A feasibility study on an environmental databank for maritime shipping was also undertaken. Key findings of both studies have been fed back into the network via the website and various presentations. By working together and sharing experiences, the involved ports are aiming to meet the public's demands for better and more sustainable port development.

Activity by port

The port of Zeebrugge is contributing to the project by installing wind turbines at its various port terminals, as well as examining the potential of building a joint grid of wind turbines. The port of Ghent is studying the residual and secondary flows of heat and CO2, while authorities in Ostend are designing sustainable and eco-friendly harbour buildings.

Both Zeeland seaports are investigating the opportunities of generating renewable energy through large scale solar panels. Meanwhile the port of Antwerp is compiling a database based on environmental data for use by the shipping industry. It is expected that the results of the aforementioned activities, which are due to be published in late 2014, should inspire other ports to also become more energy efficient.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Duurzame Zeehavens (NL)” is EUR 794 428, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 397 214, from the Operational Programme “Interreg IV Grensregio Vlaanderen–Nederland”, for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date

10/12/2014