- Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge
-|The port of
Bruges- Zeebrugge(in short: port of Zeebrugge) is a large container, bulk cargo, new vehiclesand passenger ferryterminal port in the municipality of Bruges, Flanders, Belgium, handling over 40 million tonnes of cargo annually. [ [http://www.zeebruggeport.be/E/jaarresultaten2007.pdf Annual results 2007] ]
In the last 15 years Zeebrugge has become a multifaceted port that handles a wide range of trades: unit loads (trailers and
containers), new cars, conventional general cargo, 'high & heavy' cargoes, dry and liquid bulk cargoes and natural gas. From a purely transit port Zeebrugge has gradually evolved into a centre for European distribution.
The port has become a major European port since major development works were carried in the 1972 to 1985 period. Since then total tonnage has doubled. Currently the fastest growing port of Europe, Bruges-Zeebrugge is Europe's leading
RoRoport, handing 13 million mt in 2007, and the world's largest port for imports and exports of new vehicles, with 2.22 million units handled in 2007. It is also Europe's largest LNGterminal, receiving natural gas from the Troll gas fieldvia the 814 km long Zeepipeunder the North Sea. LNG is also delivered in specialized gas tankers from various origins, like Africa, Australiaor the Middle East. Zeebrugge also counts as one the the most important ports in Europe for containerized cargo, handling 1.2 million common containers and 2 million TEUs in 2007. In tonnage this comes down to 20.6 mt.
The port employs over 11,000 people and handles over 10,000 ship moorings annually.
The most important functions of the port are:
* Intense RoRo traffic between the Continent,
Great Britain, Scandinaviaand Southern Europe;
* European hub port for the automotive industry;
* Container port with a good nautical accessibility for + 14,000 TEU ships;
* Import of Liquified Natural Gas and energy products;
* Handling, storage and distribution of perishables and other agricultural products;
* Handling of conventional general cargo and 'high & heavy' cargoes;
* Passenger transport;
* Organisation of the European distribution via an intricate network of hinterland connections.
The port of Bruges-Zeebrugge is managed by the "Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeevaartinrichtingen N.V." (abbreviated: MBZ).
Advantages of the port
The port complex of Bruges-Zeebrugge offers several main assets, which will allow volumes to develop even further in the years to come, namely,
* The favourable geographical position:
** On the coast of the North Sea, the busiest sea in the world;
** Central in relation to other North Sea ports;
** Within a short distance of Great Britain;
** Close to many major, densely populated and industrialized cities;
* Good nautical accessibility with a deep water draught in the approaches and at the berths;
* Good road and rail connections to all countries of Continental Europe;
* Several daily liner services to Great Britain and to other ports in northern and southern Europe, Zeebrugge being the cross-roads for traffic in all directions;
* A network of intercontinental and intra-European container services;
* Modern port equipment, recently established, which meets all the expectations of modern shipping and handling techniques;
* A large potential of skilled labour achieving high productivity.
The port of Zeebrugge consists of an outer port, an inner port (Zeebrugge) and an inner port (Bruges). Below, the different terminals are given.
23 April 1918, the port was the target of a famous raid, the Zeebrugge Raid, by the Royal Navyand Royal Marines. This was an attempt to block access to and from the port by intentionally sinking ships to block the canal entrance, thus preventing it's use by German ships and Submarines. Eight participants in the raid were awarded Victoria Crosses.
6 March 1987, the ferry " Herald of Free Enterprise" (owned by Townsend-Thoresen) was just outside the port, when it took on water due to the bow doors remaining open, became unstable and capsized, killing 189 passengers.
* [http://www.zeebruggeport.be/index.asp?taal=E/ Official Zeebrugge Port site]
* [http://www.ship-hunters.be follow the harbour movements @ ship-hunters]
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