Being the 2nd largest deep-sea port in Europe, and having one of the largest chemical clusters worldwide, the Port of Antwerp has many production and logistics companies that are active within the borders of the port area. Through its multimodal transportation network, it has strong connections to the hinterland, connecting important industrial and logistics zones to the world.

Antwerp is working hard to offer as many multimodal options as possible to shippers using our port. By embedding shortsea in the commercial focus and integrating this mode of transport as part of our intermodal network, we are very ambitious to grow in this segment.

We see shortsea as being a competitive solution to long distance trucking. The inland position of Antwerp offers shippers the opportunity to save on the total cost of the supply chain. Making the most optimal use of your maritime network can give a lot of advantages: you choose the most sustainable mode of transport and there is a higher rotation for expensive assets. Indeed, trucks will benefit from faster schedules for shorter distances and spend less time in traffic jams.

Expanding our shortsea network

We have a targeted focus on several destinations within our shortsea network. Today, we offer weekly sailings to most of the shortsea destinations, resulting in being the market leader on the Mediterranean Sea.

Next to the current destinations, we want to increase our offering in certain destinations with high frequency services, that have a goal to be a competitive alternative for long distance trucking. These focus areas are Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway.

Support for new services

We try to facilitate this process by giving shipping lines a better insight on the potential volumes for these destinations. This is performed through a survey, questioning companies in the port of Antwerp, or, within a very close range of the port (+-50km).

As a port authority, we want to guide shipping lines in finding their way in our port. We have dedicated shortsea terminals and agencies that can help them to start new business. As the start-up is the most difficult aspect and takes the most risk for the carriers, we want to give them as much support as necessary to make a successful story for the shortsea market.

What’s next?

We see a lot of companies re-designing their supply chain - definitely with Brexit being an extra trigger – which has already resulted in actual shifts from road transport to maritime transport. Our goal is to keep on helping all the stakeholders to make a modal shift and promote shortsea within our extensive multimodal platform.

Article by Dries Van Gheluwe, Key Account Manager Liquid bulk & Container shortsea

Join Dries Van Gheluwe and his colleagues from the Port of Antwerp at Coastlink 2020 to find out more. Book now to secure your delegate place at Coastlink. If you are a member of one of Coastlink’s supporting associations a 10% discount is available – please quote the Supporter code when making your booking and the discount will be applied. Alternatively, please call the team on +44 1329 825335 or email

Port of Antwerp