08-10 October 2024

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Draught record broken at Deurganck Dock, Port of Antwerp-Bruges

The first trial run with maximum permitted draught on the Western Scheldt has been successfully carried out. The MSC Tessa entered the Port of Antwerp on 2 October with a draft of 16 metres, a new record. It is the latest in a series of six trial runs where the draft was increased from 15.7 to 16 metres.

This draught is needed to continue receiving the very largest container ships in the future. The pilot project is a collaboration between the Flemish and Dutch Pilotage Services, shipping company MSC, the Joint Nautical Authority and Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

Increasing the authorised draught significantly increases the cargo capacity of the vessels. These extra decimetres could yield +/- 1,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) gains.

Annick De Ridder, vice-mayor of the City of Antwerp and president of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, says: ‘This successful first trial in the Deurganck dock is a milestone for our port. For our global economic position and the prosperity of current and future generations, it is essential that we can continue to receive the largest container ships. A draught of 16m allows us to profile ourselves even more strongly in the Far East, where the largest ships sail. This will strengthen our position as the first port of call. This gives us a competitive advantage and consolidates our position as a world port.’

Marc Beerlandt, CEO MSC Belgium, says: ‘MSC welcomes the fact that our longstanding demand, to be able to get by with a greater draught at our home base, the port of Antwerp, is being acted upon and this is now finally being tested further. It is evident that the shipping company wants to maximise the vessels’ performance to and from its European hub. We thank the pilots and port authorities for helping to make this happen.’

Johan Van Daele, CEO MPET, comments: ‘I would like to thank everyone who worked on this and I am of course proud that the MSC Tessa moored with us. If we want to strengthen the competitive position of our port and increase imports, including from the Far East, we must continue to work on increasing the draught. At MPET we are already ready for it, as we have already proven with the efficient handling of the MSC Tessa.’

Source: Cyann Fielding, Antwerp XL

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