Antwerp is all set to host the biggest ships in the world

Trials are underway in the Belgian port of Antwerp. The outcome will determine whether the key European port will be able to host some of the world's biggest container ships in the days to come.

The first trial has been completed, making way for a potential extension of the maximum draught of the Western Scheldt river to 16m. MSC Regulus played a key part in the trial when it entered the port with a draught of 15.7m. For the Deurganck Dock, where deepening is allegedly going to take place, this is a new record for the books.

“For our worldwide economic position, supplying this country and Europe which is so important, and the prosperity of current and future generations, it's essential that we can continue to receive the largest container ships and that they can choose Antwerp as their first port of call, " said Port Alderman Annick De Ridder.

"We are therefore particularly enthusiastic about the start-up of this project and the successful first trial run."

The project brings together a whole host of companies from the European subcontinent, including the Port of Antwerp, the Flemish Agency for Maritime Services and Coast (MDK), Dutch pilots, the Common Nautical Management (GNA), traffic controllers, and MSC.

“If ships with a bigger draught can call at the port of Antwerp, the port can raise its profile even more in the Far East, where the biggest ships sail and strengthen its position as the first port of call here too. This will help to strengthen our competitive advantage over other ports and perpetuate our position as a world port,” added Annick De Ridder.

The said Western Scheldt river has a maximum draught of 15.5m currently. However, for hosting the largest container ships in the world, a draught of 16m is required at the inlet. The 5 decimeters in question here can be the deciding factor for over 1000 TEU.

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