Our contribution to a better climate

With a view to making our port future-proof, we have been working to make the Port of Zeebrugge a Clean Port par excellence for many years now. We are resolutely committed to renewable energy, in which we have been investing in a more sustainable modal split and making our building stock energy-neutral.

Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat

The largest industrial wind farm

We have joined forced with ENGIE at the terminal of International Car Operators (ICO), the world leader in roll-on/roll-off cargo handling for international destinations, to put the finishing touches to the largest industrial onshore wind farm in Flanders in 2020.

"At the beginning of 2021, the Port of Zeebrugge boasts exactly 50 wind turbines, which will collectively generate 130 megawatts – equal to the electricity consumption of 90,000 families."

Tom Hautekiet, CEO Port of Zeebrugge

The wind farm at the Southern Canal Dock is now fully operational: there are 11 wind turbines, representing a total capacity of 44 megawatts. The power generated is primarily used by ICO. In a normal year _ in which neither COVID-19 nor the ensuing measures had taken place – the 100,000 electrically powered cars that arrive by ship at the port each year will be recharged with electricity generated by the wind farm. ENGIE has therefore constructed a large electric recharging island at the terminal with 308 charge points. The remaining energy from the wind farm will be made available to other users of the port and the vessels at berth here.

At the beginning of 2021, the Port of Zeebrugge boasts exactly 50 wind turbines, which will collectively generate 130 megawatts – equal to the electricity consumption of 90,000 families. A wind turbine was also built on the sites of PepsiCo (Tropicana)  and the Zeebrugge Fish Auction in 2020.

Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat

Durable tugboats

We have extended our cooperation with Boluda Towage Europe. This was a conscious decision in favour of efficient, safe and – above all – sustainable tugboats. Thanks to Boluda, Zeebrugge now has eight high-capacity tugboats at its disposal, seven of which belong to the newest generation. They emit up to 80% less nitrogen and therefore comply with the latest international standards for nitrogen emissions from ships (IMO Tier III). The tugs are also certified in accordance with the highest fire-fighting standards.

As from 2020, non-active tugboats must be connected to shore-to-ship power supply facilities so they will not have to keep their engines running unnecessarily.

Thanks to these initiatives, Zeebrugge has the greenest fleet of all European ports at this moment.

Read more in the case “Europe’s greenest tugboats are in Zeebrugge”.

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Zeebrugge as a ro-ro port for electric vehicles

Zeebrugge as a hydrogen hub

In conjunction with the Antwerp Port Authority, we aim to play a pioneering role in the transition towards a more renewable energy system. In 2020, Eoly (part of the Colruyt Group), Parkwind and Fluxys announced their intention to build a plant in Zeebrugge to facilitate the large-scale production of green hydrogen. With a capacity of 25 megawatts, ‘Hyoffwind’ will be using power from offshore wind farms to generate hydrogen as a form of green energy for the Belgian gas grid.

Zeebrugge is the ideal location for this, because this is where the power from Belgian offshore wind farms comes ashore. Another asset is our port’s LNG network: the LNG terminal and the associated infrastructure. This infrastructure can be used for the distribution and storage of green energy in the future. Our expertise in LNG lends itself to a new, more sustainable alternative.

Once all permits have been obtained, construction on Hyoffwind could start in 2021 and the plant could be operational as early as in 2023.

Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat

Rail: a tempting alternative for road transport

As part of our ambition to become a Clean Port, we are working on a more sustainable modal split: dividing transport over different, more sustainable modes of transport. By 2030, we want 20% of all cargo to be shipped by rail.

In 2020, almost 10,000 freight trains carried cargo to and from the port area. That figure was slightly lower than in 2019, but significantly higher than in previous years.

Most carriers choose to consign their goods to a haulier, because transport by train is still more expensive. Zeebrugge is also an easily accessible port for truckers: 4,000 trucks pass through the port daily, with peaks of up to 7,000. In consultation with our partners, we are seeking solutions to have part of that cargo transported by rail. The advantages are numerous. There are no traffic jams on the rail network. All the terminals in Zeebrugge are connected to the railways, with the exception of the LNG terminal. Moreover, a train trailer can carry 4 tonnes more by rail than the 40 tonnes carried by a trailer driving on the road, on average.

Railway operator Hupac will facilitate a new connection to Italy in 2020 which will grant access to Novara in the north and Bari in the south. Activity on the railway lines between the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Zeebrugge has also increased. Rail operator Lineas has increased the number of container trains between the two ports by twofold. The chemical company Evonik has launched a new rail link from Antwerp to the CSP-Zeebrugge Terminal for containers bound for the Far East. A new weekly rail connection was established between Westdorpe (part of North Sea Port) in the Netherlands and Zeebrugge through Lineas. 2020 also saw the first test shipments of LNG leaving Zeebrugge by rail for northern Italy, thanks to a joining of forces between terminal operator Fluxys, Lineas, Cosco Group and transporter Macotruck.

Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat

The Western Scheldt as a sustainable shipping route

In 2020, the share of estuary shipping through the Western Scheldt will have increased by 4.2% to an annual total of more than 2.3 million tonnes of shipped goods.

Because the Port of Zeebrugge is not adequately connected to the European inland navigation network at present, navigating the Western Scheldt with reinforced inland navigation vessels is a frequently used yet more expensive option. In 2021, PortConnect, a subsidiary of MBZ, will deploy an additional estuary vessel. We will also be enlarging our fleet in the years to come. In the meantime, in line with initiatives such as De Vlaamse Waterweg, we will be looking for innovative solutions to boost traffic on the Western Scheldt. Examples include unmanned vessels or estuary barges (ships that are towed by other ships).

"In 2021, PortConnect, a subsidiary of MBZ, will deploy an additional estuary vessel. We will also be enlarging our fleet in the years to come."

Tom Hautekiet, CEO Port of Zeebrugge

Energy-efficient assets

We are currently taking stock of the energy consumption of our own buildings and facilities, including the locks. Our goal is to enhance the energy efficiency of our infrastructure and to ensure that this is climateneutral by 2050. This baseline measurement also includes the company cars of port workers and the commuter traffic of our employees.

Cleaner ships

Together with North Sea Port Ghent and the Port of Antwerp, we launched regulations for the environmentally friendly cleaning of ship hulls and propellers in Flemish ports in 2020. Hull and propellers collect a lot of organic material and waste from the water. Cleaning them regularly allows you to easily reduce your average fuel consumption by 10%. It also helps prevent the spread of invasive exotic species and heavy metals into the waters of the port.

In Zeebrugge, Ghent and Antwerp, the Norwegian firm of ECOsubsea and FleetCleaner from the Netherlands have been granted a permit to clean ship hulls with an unmanned type of vacuum cleaner. Several other companies are already licensed for propeller polishing or are going through the licensing process. The cleaning can take place while the ships are being loaded or unloaded so no time is lost.

Port of
Antwerp-Bruges

Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat

Case

Zeebrugge and Antwerp: partners in energy transition

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, that will be the name of the merger between the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. The merger will only be of benefit to both partners, and not in the least with regard to their objectives in terms of renewable energy. What are the merged port’s greatest assets in terms of energy?

Hydrogen

At the end of 2019,the Port of Zeebrugge and the Port of Antwerp joined the hydrogen import coalition, a group of companies that also includes DEME, ENGIE, Exmar, Fluxys and HydrogenNet. The members of the coalition are convinced that hydrogen will become of crucial importance in making our society climate-neutral by 2050. A large-scale study conducted in 2020 shows that the import of hydrogen is technically and economically feasible. The coalition partners will be implementing several pilot projects in the next few years.

The ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp can play an important role in the development of a global hydrogen economy. Sun and wind will never provide enough power in our country to meet all our energy needs. Thanks to hydrogen, however, we can take advantage of the green electricity that countries like Germany, Chile or Saudi Arabia generate in abundance. If we manage to convert that power into hydrogen, the liquid hydrogen gas can travel around the world in liquid bulk tankers. We can then use hydrogen as a basic raw material for the chemical industry and as a sustainable fuel source for aircraft, ships and trucks. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges aims to become a global player in the import of hydrogen on the basis of its greatest assets – a large chemical cluster in Antwerp, the green electricity from Belgian offshore wind farms that arrives in Zeebrugge, and an extensive network of liquid bulk through the LNG terminal in Zeebrugge.

Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat
Onze bijdrage aan het klimaat

CO₂ capture and storage

Other important prospects towards securing a climate-neutral future are the capture and storage of CO₂ (carbon capture & storage, CCS) and the use of CO₂ as a raw material for numerous applications (carbon capture & utilisation, CCU). A feasibility study is currently being conducted in the Antwerp Port area, supported by eight major players: Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, INEOS, ExxonMobil, Fluxys and Total. This study examines the feasibility of CO₂ storage underground. Because the Flemish subsoil is not very suitable, international cooperation is indispensable. CO₂ could, for example, be exchanged through existing pipelines with the Ports of Rotterdam or Norway.

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, that will be the name of the merger between the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. The merger will only be of benefit to both partners, and not in the least with regard to their objectives in terms of renewable energy. What are the merged port’s greatest assets in terms of energy?

Energiepartners-Infografiek-ENG

Reuse

Steam network Ecluse

Companies use residual heat from waste incineration plants. Annual CO2 savings: 100,000 tonnes

Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage

Antwerp: the second largest chemical cluster in the world. Capture half of all CO2 emitted in Antwerp with CCUS by 2030

Sustainable fleet

Hydrotug

Hydrogen fueled tugboat

Greenest tugboat fleet in Europe

(in collaboration with Boluda Towage)

Carbon-neutral fuels (for the bunker market)

LNG, methanol, hydrogen, ammonia and electric power

Transport

Rail port

12.7 percent share for rail transport in the modal split, rising to 20 percent in 2030

Renewable energy

Hyoffwind

Hydrogen plant ready in 2023

LNG hub

Ready for the transition to hydrogen

Power-to-Methanol

Production of hydrogen-based methanol (demo plant ready in 2023). Annual CO2 savings: 8,000 tonnes

Member of the Belgian hydrogen coalition

130 wind turbines

Corresponding to 330 MW, or the energy consumption of 230,000 families

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