Last update 26 May 2020
Shipping: port operational
North Sea Port is focusing on its core business. This means we are working to keeping our port and port activities operational.
- Borders remain open for maritime and inland navigation, as well as for all ancillary services such as boatmen, pilotage and tug services.
- The Harbourmasters Offices remain available 24/7 to ensure that shipping is properly managed with the help of a reduced staff. Full replacement teams are on standby in case colleagues are taken ill.
- A Taskforce team is focusing specifically on the operational and economic aspects of the port and on safeguarding the supply of raw materials, goods, food and life-saving equipment. The aim is to allow shipping and all associated nautical activities to continue in North Sea Port wherever this is possible and safe. To this end, we are in close contact with companies, service providers and public authorities.
- The economic impact on companies is being monitored daily. As a port authority, North Sea Port is looking at where it can offer solutions to meet needs.
Shipping and health
As always, strict procedures for infectious diseases on board apply before ships call at North Sea Port. Additional arrangements have now been agreed with the national health services GGD (for the Netherlands) and Saniport (for Belgium):
- shipping must, as usual, complete the Maritime Declaration of Health. This procedure is closely coordinated with the health services (GGD and Saniport).
- The Maritime Declaration of Health must be completed 24 hours before entering the port.
- If even a single question on this form is answered 'yes', the health service is brought in immediately.
North Sea Port is also following the advice of both the Dutch and the Belgian/Flemish governments in this regard.
For a summary of the procedures, please visit the Port and Health page.
Vignette for cross-border workers
Several border crossings are closed until June 8. In order to prevent cross-border workers in vital sectors and with crucial jobs (i.e. key workers) from being delayed at checkpoints, a vignette has been introduced. The vignette is designed to prevent these cross-border workers from being delayed at the border and are solely for their use.
The various vignettes can be downloaded from the Crisis Centre website. How they work is also stated on the vignettes.
Port authority staff remain available
The welfare and safety of North Sea Ports employees are paramount. North Sea Port is adhering to the advice of the WHO, the government and national official bodies in this matter. The North Sea Port offices are currently being operated by a skeleton staff.
In addition, the following specific measures are in force for North Sea Port:
- Employees are working from home wherever possible and all meetings and gatherings which are not strictly necessary have been cancelled.
- Employees can be reached by e-mail, online meetings or phone.
- Operational services remain available, run by a limited staff.
Additional bicycles available
North Sea Port and De Fietsambassade (City of Ghent) are making 100 bicycles available to employees so that they can still get to work. This solution applies to both the Ghent and the Zealand sections of the port.
For more information, please e-mail North Sea Port.
River and maritime cruises have been cancelled until further notice.
Port House closed
The Port House in Ghent (Graslei) is also closed to visitors and the planned guided tours have been cancelled. The exhibition is now also closed to the public until November 1.
Ferries: amended services
The timetables and services of the ferries in the port zone have been amended:
- the bicycle/pedestrian ferry on the Western Scheldt (between Vlissingen and Breskens): is taking no more than 100 passengers per trip. The crossing will be operated by 1 vessel until at least Monday June 1.You can find more information on the Western Scheldt Ferry website.
Western Scheldt Ferry website
- The ferries across the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal in Langerbrugge and in Terdonk (Ghent): maximum 5 pedestrians/bicycles per crossing, no restriction on cars or freight traffic.You can find more information on the Maritime and Coastal Services Agency website.
Maritime and Coastal Services Agency website
Seamans Institutes closed
All Seamens Institutes throughout North Sea Port are now closed until further notice. The North Sea Port havenbus (between the port, the Stella Maris seamens institute and the centre of Ghent) will no longer run until further notice.
The Seamens Institutes in Vlissingen and Ghent have launched a service for sailors to enable them to contact friends and family using data cards (subject to strict conditions).
North Sea Port provides financial assistance to land tenants
The coronavirus has also had substantial financial consequences, with companies North Sea Port potentially being affected. The port authority is therefore taking exceptional financial measures in these exceptional times. Companies that rent land from the port authority – ground lease on the Zeeland side, concessions on the Ghent side – can request a postponement of their rent payments.
For more information about the coronavirus and (additional) measures, please visit the following websites