Blue Gate Antwerp industrial park opens its doors for water-dependent businesses
Synthetic rope manufacturer Bexco was the first business to move into the industrial park. Now, the newly constructed loading and unloading dock is operational as well. Blue Gate Antwerp, the eco-industrial park for water-dependent businesses, has really taken off. It will be home to smart logistics companies, innovative manufacturing companies and centres for advanced research and development.
The brand new loading and unloading dock was commissioned by one of Bexco’s vessels. The manufacturer of synthetic rope for the maritime sector is the first company to move into Blue Gate Antwerp, the industrial park of the future.
The Flemish Region (in partnership with independent investment company PMV and Flanders’ inland waterways management company Waterwegen & Zeekanaal NV) and the City of Antwerp (together with real estate subsidiary AG Vespa and the City of Antwerp’s economic department Business & Innovatie) have been working on the redevelopment of the Petroleum Zuid brownfield site, situated to the south of the city. They have major ambitions: the brownfield site will be entirely transformed into an innovative eco-industrial park open to water-dependent businesses. Blue Gate Antwerp targets three main market segments: logistics, manufacturing, and research & development.
Dock for inland vessels
The flagship within the logistics area is the newly constructed, reinforced loading and unloading dock near d’Herbouville Quay, offering a mooring length of 200 meters. The dock was built at a safe height according to the Sigma Plan, to protect against flooding.
“The fact that the dock is positioned along the Zeeschelde estuary offers a distinct advantage”, says engineer Leo Clinckers, Managing Director at Waterwegen & Zeekanaal NV. “It was also specifically designed to ensure that even the largest inland vessels can moor at the dock – irrespective of the tide level. Forecasts have indicated that more than 1,500,000 tonnes of goods will be loaded and unloaded at the dock annually – the equivalent of more than 60,000 truck loads”.
The new dock will serve as a hub for logistics services. Adjoining the dock, a 13-hectare site will be transformed into Blue Gate Antwerp’s logistics area, from which numerous goods will be distributed: construction materials for developments at Blue Gate Antwerp and for surrounding wharves, but also waste flows, consumer goods, etc. The logistics area will also be home to the city’s urban distribution centre.
Bexco – first company at Blue Gate
The lease agreement between synthetic rope manufacturer Bexco and Blue Gate Antwerp was signed last year. On the 1.1-hectare site, Bexco has built a new manufacturing facility for the production of ropes for the offshore industry. Approximately 20 people will be employed at the site. Potential clients and partners have the opportunity to visit the facility on Wednesday 21 October.
At its manufacturing plant in Hamme, Bexco produces synthetic rope for the shipping and offshore industries, specifically for anchoring drilling platforms at sea. As the oil drilling industry is moving into ever deeper waters, longer ropes are becoming more and more in demand. Bexco was experiencing difficulty transporting some of these longer ropes from its facility in Hamme, which is why the company decided to look for a waterfront location. This will also give Bexco a competitive edge, as it will be able to take on more – and larger – projects. Only about five other companies worldwide have similar expertise in this field.
“Blue Gate Antwerp is ideally located”, says Bexco CEO Francis Mottrie. “The industrial park is situated right on the waterfront, effectively eliminating the weight and height restrictions we experience with road transport. The new quay wall is perfectly suited for handling heavy cargo.”