Antwerp Port Showcases Barge Transport Initiatives
Each week more than 915 barges call at the port of Antwerp carrying project cargo, containers and dry and liquid bulk to and from northern France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Keeping this barge traffic flowing smoothly requires efficient collaboration between all partners in the chain. Over the past few years this collaboration has led to the development of various digital tools that all share the same goal, namely to make the port of Antwerp more accessible for barges. The Instream campaign draws all these initiatives together, making it clear at a glance how Antwerp stands out from other ports.
The port of Antwerp aims to increase the share of barge transport in the modal mix from the present 36% to 42% by 2030. Barge transport plays a crucial role in maintaining sustainable links with the hinterland and underpinning the logistics goods flow. Not surprisingly, therefore, Antwerp Port Authority has for some years played a pioneering role to streamline barge traffic in the port, in collaboration with all the other partners in the chain. Efficient barge transport makes the port more attractive to port customers and encourages them to make greater use of this mode.
One important advantage for successful barge projects in the port of Antwerp is the good collaboration between all parties involved in the chain of transport. By combining these forces, the port is able to streamline the processes and structures involved in barge transport and create a positive dynamic among the various stakeholders. “The collaboration with the Port Authority is unique. Thanks to the pragmatic approach and the open dialogue between the barge sector and the Port Authority, results are achieved quickly for efficient handling of barge traffic in the port of Antwerp,” says Philip Govers, Chief Operations Officer of BCTN Benelux and Director of ICBO.
With its nautical coordination, efficient container handling and smooth internal distribution within the port, Antwerp offers three advantages for the barge sector.
> Nautical coordination: the Automatic Identification System and coordination of barge movements contribute to smooth, transparent and safe barge traffic. Furthermore, turnaround times in port are reduced thanks to efficient scheduling and use of the available lock capacity.
> Efficient container handling: the Barge Traffic System (BTS) enables barge operators to request realistic time slots, which permits feasible, realistic scheduling on their part. BTS is further augmented by the project for central barge scheduling and monitoring, which should permit joint, port-wide scheduling among all terminal operators.
> Smooth internal distribution: the Premium Barge Service calls at the different container terminals in the port of Antwerp at fixed times, thus making it possible to cut down on the amount of truck transport within the port. Further, consolidation of small barge container volumes will reduce the number of calls, which in turn will improve turnaround times in port.
Thanks to projects such as these, the port of Antwerp has developed into the barge port in Europe, where operators and users are able to find smart, efficient solutions that make barge transport a reliable link with the hinterland.